PHILADELPHIA — It was a big night in the political career of Katie McGinty, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.
McGinty was selected to address the Democratic National Convention Thursday night, just a couple hours before Hillary Clinton delivered her acceptance speech.
In other words, the packed house at the Wells Fargo Center, coupled with millions of television viewers offered McGinty the opportunity to shine and, as she did earlier in the day at the breakfast meeting of the Pennsylvania Delegation, McGinty delivered an inspiring talk.
McGinty said she was the ninth of 10 children born to a “big, loud, Irish family,” and her father was a police officer who walked a beat.
“I learned early what hard work is all about,” McGinty said. “I learned those timeless values and the belief that we each must look out for each other.”
McGinty said she learned that success isn’t “a product of pedigree,” and to succeed, you have to give it your all and give back. She talked about today’s struggles of middle class families and how wages have not increased enough over the last few decades, causing those families to feel anxious and insecure.
McGinty said people must work together to expand opportunity.
“As Democrat, we must work for good schools, affordable college, and job training to build the economy of tomorrow,” she said. “This is the American way — work hard, get ahead.”
Scranton delegate Grace McGregor Kramer said it was awe-inspiring to listen to McGinty.
“Katie’s message is one that resonates with all Pennsylvanians,” she said. “The entire Pennsylvania Delegation was holding signs and cheering for her and how hard they will work to get her elected to the Senate.”
“We are in the city where democracy began,” McGinty said. “And now, we are here to save democracy.”
McGinty is running against Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Toomey in November. Her race and the race for Pennsylvania in the presidential election loom large in the prospects for the Democratic Party. If McGinty wins, she could be part of the Democrats’ takeover of the Senate.
“When you put Democrats in control, the economy goes well,” McGinty said. “And then America’s best days will lie ahead.”
McGinty was sure to credit the delegates for their hard work, encouraging them to continue to knock on doors, man the telephones and attend community events to promote Democratic candidates.
“So far, you have delivered great results,” she said. “We need to keep that going through November. We need to take back Washington and Harrisburg.”
McGinty said Democrats must work hard to deny Republican Donald Trump the presidency.
“We must fight had to prevent this demagogue from becoming president,” she said.
Following her address, McGinty met with media to respond to questions. Many inquired about her recent remark, calling her opponent “an a—hole.” McGinty said she apologized to Toomey for the remark, but she said she has always approached life with passion.
McGinty made the statement during a discussion on raising the minimum wage.
In a statement released by her campaign, McGinty said, “I regret the language and apologize to Senator Toomey. Our campaign is about moving Pennsylvania forward and we’re going to talk about the issues that are important to Pennsylvania families.”
When pressed about the name calling, McGinty said, “You’re going to hear passion from this candidate.”
She said sometimes people get tired of “scripted talking points,” and she wanted to put it behind her and discuss real issues.
McGinty said wages of working people have been stagnant for far too long. She said she will work to put people to work, improve their wages and assure equal pay for equal work.
Economically, we are seeing huge positive signs, and we have to keep going forward,” she said.
McGinty, 53 of Montgomery County, formerly served as Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff. She defeated Joe Sestak and John Fetterman in the April primary to secure the Democratic nomination.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.