Candidate for Lt. Gov. stumps at fairgrounds

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Jeff Bartos, the Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, speaks with a potential voter on Wednesday at the Warren County Fair.

Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race is heating up.

The accusations are starting to fly.

The vitriol is ratcheting to new heights in the build to the November general election.

Republican lieutenant governor candidate Jeff Bartos was at the Warren County Fair on Wednesday, meeting voters, shaking hands, talking to people.

But, in many ways, he was just another guy at the fair.

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Bartos speaks with Warren County Fair Queen Audrey Ferrie.

Rather than sitting down with Bartos and discussing what we think are the key issues in the upcoming election, the Times Observer took a different approach on Wednesday, tagging along with Bartos around the fairgrounds – through the buildings, over the grounds, into the barns, and listening to what issues people wanted to raise to him and what questions they wanted to ask.

The issues ranged from serious issues – oil and gas, firefighter volunteerism and faith – to more light-hearted questions such as whether he will participate in the Polar Plunge at Warren County Winterfest.

But more than anything, it was apparent that he was genuinely interested in meeting and talking to people.

The first question: “Trump on your side?” (Trump endorsed Bartos’ running mate, Scott Wagner, last week).

“The pathway to the president getting elected (came) right through Pennsylvania,” he said. “We have to win Pennsylvania this year.”

His visit started by walking through the commercial booths, asking about products, talking with people.

He knows what he’s getting into if the Wagner/Bartos ticket carries the election this fall.

“There’s an endless amount of work,” he said.

Perhaps the bluntest question asked of Bartos was if he was a Christian and where his kids go to school.

He responded by saying that he is Jewish and joked “we’re cousins, basically.”

“We’ve hurt our country by turning away from faith,” he added. “We live our values by sending our daughter to a religious day school. (We) try to live our values and set a good example.”

When he would interact with county Republican committee people he met when he visited Warren County in February, he was asking about their families and lives and how people were responding to canvassing efforts for the ticket.

“The entire thing is going to be about turnout,” he said.

Throwing his hat into the ring for a Garland fire department raffle, he made it a point to ask about volunteer issues plaguing fire departments in our area.

“Everywhere I go, I hear how hard it is to get volunteers,” he noted.

He talked to the Fair Queen, Audrey Ferrie, about a community service project aimed at getting life skills students at her school involved in homecoming festivities, asking about how it came to be and offering ideas that may help her.

“It’s great to be here,” he said.

But what about the Polar Plunge?

He said he would consider coming back to Warren County for it regardless of the election’s outcome, though he has a preference.

“We have to win,” he said.