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GF Democrat to hold fundraiser for Pennsylvania candidate

A local Democrat will soon hold a North Dakota event to raise money and support for a U.S. Senate candidate -- a candidate who is running in a tight race more than 1,000 miles away.

A local Democrat will soon hold a North Dakota event to raise money and support for a U.S. Senate candidate -- a candidate who is running in a tight race more than 1,000 miles away.

Democratic candidate Joe Sestak, a member of the U.S. Navy for more than 30 years, has served in the U.S. House since 2007. He defeated five-term incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter in a May primary, getting the Democratic nomination to run against Republican candidate Pat Toomey in November.

Local Democrat C.T. Marhula said he got to know people working on Sestak's campaign while volunteering for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential bid.

"He's in a dead heat with Congressman Toomey and we just think that Sestak's values really are important that we win that seat in the Senate," Marhula said. "We think his values reflect North Dakota."

Marhula said he also hopes the event will show support for Rep. Earl Pomeroy, North Dakota's representative on the U.S. House since 1992 who is facing a tough re-election bid against Republican candidate Rick Berg.

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"We can't afford people like Rick Berg in the House and Toomey in the Senate, no matter which state they're from," he said. "They don't fit North Dakota values."

Goals

Marhula hopes to draw a good crowd to the fundraiser and support event as local residents learn more about Sestak and how the results of congressional elections across the country could impact North Dakotans.

He sees this event as a "supplement" to the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party's push to re-elect Pomeroy in November.

"Re-electing Earl is our No. 1 priority," Marhula said. "We think hearing from Joe will help energize Pomeroy supporters to go the extra mile from Labor Day to Election Day."

The event for Sestak will be held Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Marhula's Grand Forks home located at 617 Plain Hills Drive. Sestak will speak with attendees over the phone at about 7:30 p.m. to outline the tough race he faces this fall.

Marhula said donations are optional and attendees can contribute as much as $2,400. Items featuring Sestak's autograph also will be auctioned off to raise money.

But Marhula said he doesn't expect to bring in as much money as the UND hockey jersey bearing Sarah Palin's autograph that the North Dakota Republican Party is selling on eBay. Bidding on that jersey was up to about $4,500 by Monday evening, and bids are being accepted until Sunday.

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"We will be auctioning off Sestak memorabilia but we're going to start it at $5, not $250 like the Palin jersey," Marhula joked. "If we get $40, we'll be happy."

Those interested in attending are asked to R.S.V.P. to Marhula by e-mailing ctm@gra.midco.net or calling (701) 746-1569.

Johnson reports on local politics. Reach him at (701) 780-1105; (800) 477-6572, ext. 105; or send e-mail to rjohnson@gfherald.com .

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