Monday, August 18, 2008

Western Mass. GOP Picnic!

Lot's of fun in the sun for GOP candidates - here are some pics from the event. Story is below the pictures.

Republicans look ahead with hope:
Saturday, August 16, 2008

WEST SPRINGFIELD - Although skies were overcast and rain began plinking on the tin roof of the Elks Club picnic pavilion, area Republicans looked ahead to sunnier tomorrows.

More than 200 people turned out for the 25th annual Western Massachusetts Republicans summertime family barbecue at the West Springfield Elks Club.

With McCain for President signs leading the way to the picnic grounds down behind the main club on Morgan Road, people noshed on burgers, rubbed elbows with state and local politicians and expressed optimism about the outcome in November.

Though many national prognosticators predict the Republican Party is being dragged down by the unpopularity of President Bush, picnic-goers opined that the party is neither down nor out.

Western Massachusetts Republican Chairman Kevin A. Jourdain, of Holyoke, said the turnout this year was higher than it has been in recent years.

He said he believes McCain could surprise a lot of people and win Massachusetts. The latest polling showed him down by only eight points in Massachusetts, which in a Democratic-dominated state is pretty close.

Peter G. Torkildsen, chairman of the state Republican Party, agreed. "In Massachusetts, it's very close."

In the last three presidential elections, the Democrats have carried Massachusetts by no less than 25 points.

He also said he expects the Republicans to pick up a few seats in the state Legislature. Both houses of the Legislature are overwhelmingly Democrat by a combined 140-19 margin.

"If people didn't realize it two years ago, they realize it now: A one-party Legislature is not good for the commonwealth," he said.

Torkildsen, who said he attends local party functions throughout the state a couple of times each week, said he never misses this event.

"This is a big one. It's got Republicans from all over Western Mass.," he said.

Nathan A. Bech, of West Springfield, who is challenging incumbent John W. Olver, D-Amherst, for the 1st Congressional District, was on hand.

Also present was William G. Scibelli, of Longmeadow, who was running for the 2nd Hampden District held by Mary S. Rogeness. Rogeness, the longtime incumbent, is not running for re-election.

Scibelli said he was pleased that Rogeness gave him her endorsement.