Jubilation was in the air as the Washington County Republican Party hosted its annual Reagan Day Dinner Thursday night.
The celebratory mood at the Marietta Shrine Club was thanks to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's winning performance in Wednesday night's debate against Democratic President Barack Obama, said those in attendance at the Marietta Shrine Club.
"Last night was a great victory because Mitt Romney made an excellent case of how the plan for the future contrasts with the failed policies of Barrack Obama's administration," said Bill Johnson, Ohio's 6th District congressman.
SHARON BOPP The Marietta Times
U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel speaks at the Reagan Day Dinner hosted by the Washington County Republican Party Thursday.
Like the rest of the Republicans gathered at Wednesday's dinner, Johnson was eager to welcome the event's guest speaker-U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel.
"(Ohio Treasurer) Josh Mandel is a great Senate candidate. I'm very enthusiastic about the prospects of him winning and getting a real leader in the Senate," said Johnson.
Former President Ronald Reagan's leadership of the United States is exactly what area Republicans pay tribute to at their yearly Reagan Day Dinner.
Candidates who participated in Thursday's Reagan Day Dinner included:
Josh Mandel, U.S. Senate candidate and current Ohio treasurer.
Bill Johnson, Ohio 6th District Congressman.
David White, Washington County Commissioner candidate.
Ron Feathers, Washington County Commissioner candidate.
Mark Kerenyi, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas candidate.
"It's a time when we get together and celebrate the principles Ronald Reagan stood for," Johnson noted.
Stirring up enthusiasm before the Nov. 6 election is another purpose behind the event.
"It's held about a month before the general election so we can bring together the party faithful and get them motivated and excited," said Leslie Haas, chair of the Washington County Republican Party's Executive Committee.
Amid the packed house of about 300 guests at Wednesday's dinner were members of the Marietta College Republicans.
This event "gets college students involved in the real world-talking to candidates and meeting people in the community," said Brad Miller, 22, of Waterford, president of the Marietta College Republicans.
Mandel is a candidate that Miller said he can embrace.
"He brought more fiscal responsibility to the state," Miller said. "He can get to Washington, change things and keep his values."
Mandel said he has some changes in mind should he win the U.S. Senate race including a "no budget no pay" proposal.
"It's been three years since the Senate passed a budget," Mandel said. "They shouldn't get paid (because) they are disregarding one of their main duties as U.S. senators."
Mandel promised to stand firm against Washington's lobbyists and career politicians if elected-referencing his experience in the Marine Corps.
"If (they) try to push me around and threaten me to vote for some piece of legislation, I will tell the career politicians that they can't push me around because I have been through tougher stuff than this," said Mandel.
Mandel also vowed to stand firm for coal, oil and gas jobs in the state of Ohio.
"The politicians in Washington are trying to kill coal mine jobs in Ohio and block new jobs in the oil and gas fields," he said. "As U.S. senator, I will do everything I can to protect and grow jobs in the energy sector."