Pat Toomey appears with his family in Springettsbury Township
Pat Toomey appears with his family in Springettsbury Township (Bill Kalina)

A few dozen supporters sporting campaign stickers and holding up signs greeted Republican U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey during a campaign stop Tuesday in Springettsbury Township.

Toomey rolled into the York County Republican Party's campaign headquarters on East Market Street shortly after noon as part of a four-day, 23-county "more jobs, less government" tour across Pennsylvania.

The former three-term U.S. House member used the stop to highlight his differences with Democratic opponent U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak.

Toomey said Sestak is among the most liberal of Democrats and characterized him as a free-spender who supported faulty policies including the federal stimulus package, the auto and bank bailouts and federal health care plan.

"Joe and I just differ on just about every issue of the day," Toomey told supporters during a short speech inside the headquarters.

Polls show Toomey leading the race against Sestak to replace ousted U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter. The most recent telephone survey conducted by the Rasmussen Reports shows Toomey leading Sestak by a margin of 46 percent to 37 percent among likely voters.

Followers: Representatives with the Democratic Party of Pennsylvania are trailing Toomey during his tour. Party Communications Director Mark Nicastre, 26, stood outside the gathering Tuesday holding a sign that read "Wall Street" as another representative, Greg Kauffman, tried to film Toomey's entrance.

Nicastre said his sign was meant to tell voters that Toomey would represent Wall Street and not Pennsylvania families if elected to the Senate. He pointed to Toomey's background in the financial industry and said Toomey supported deregulation legislation that led to the economic crisis.

Toomey supporters, meanwhile, held up campaign signs to prevent Kauffman's filming.

During his speech, Toomey said he supports small government and fiscal responsibility.

He said the country is at a crossroads of two different paths. The current approach supported by Sestak and other liberal congressional Democrats would transform the country into a European-style welfare state, he said.

Instead, Toomey said, the county needs to limit the size of government and stick to its capitalist roots.

He told supporters he's a strong supporter of gun rights.

"My idea of gun control is a steady aim," he said.

Response: The Sestak campaign was on the offensive even before Toomey made it to York.

It sent out a press release criticizing Toomey's ties to Wall Street and said he supported the "same failed economic policies that led to record unemployment, the collapse of the housing market and the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression."

Campaign spokesman Jonathon Dworkin said the U.S. government, with Toomey's help, racked up the largest deficit in the world and doubled the national debt.

He said Toomey would rather give tax breaks to the richest people and corporations instead of the middle class.

"The policies he wants to pursue are just completely out of touch and extreme," Dworkin said.

--Reach Carl Lindquist at 505-5432 or clindquis