CLEARFIELD, Pa. - His audience was 75 people or so, many of them gray-haired men in camouflage caps who braced themselves against the wind in the parking lot of the Grice Classic Car and Trophy Game Museum, where stuffed grizzly bears stand like sentries guarding gleaming Chevys and Oldsmobiles.
His job on the line, Gov. Corbett was stumping in the "T," politicos' slang for the center and north of the state that denotes reliably Republican territory, imploring supporters not only to vote but to buckle down and persuade others to do so.
"Get them to the polls," he said. "This election is going to be a turnout election."
Corbett and his Democratic opponent, Tom Wolf, were pushing the pedal to the metal this week as the race heads into its final days.
Hours before Corbett's morning visit to Clearfield, Wolf's campaign bus hurtled down Interstate 80 Wednesday toward its next stop, leaving a spray of water in its wake as the windshield wipers beat back a driving rain.
Wolf, too, was talking turnout, chasing the deadly kind of complacency that can take hold among supporters when polls give a candidate a healthy lead.
In Lock Haven and Bloomsburg, he urged Democrats to forget all that and get out the vote as though the future of Pennsylvania depended on it, which he said it did.
"It's important that we not rest," he told more than 100 people packed into the storefront office of the Columbia County Democrats in Bloomsburg. "These polls don't mean anything. If we don't get out to vote . . . nothing's going to really change."
The blue-and-yellow bus wound down mountainous roads on its way to Reading, where Wolf gave much the same message at an arts center, and ended the day at Coatesville's New Life in Christ Church for a boisterous rally of about 200 supporters in the sanctuary.
For his part, Corbett planned a Friday sweep across the GOP stronghold of south-central Pennsylvania, including a stop in Chambersburg with a Republican rising star: Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. Then it's on to the battleground northeast quadrant of the state Saturday, and to Bucks County for a Sunday rally with New Jersey Gov. Christie.
Corbett still trails by double digits in the polls, but if recent elections are any indication, he will win Clearfield County, a region built on natural resources - coal, gas timber, and a smattering of factories like century-old Kurtz Bros. School Supply Co., still cranking out notebooks and classroom desks.
As he greeted veterans at the museum parking lot and thanked them for their service, one worried local asked another: "What's the point spread?"
Tom Grice, who runs the museum as well as a gun store down the block, said he was backing Corbett because he supports the Second Amendment.
"He's a guy who's not afraid to tackle the issues, whether you like him or not," Grice said. "I'm in the firearms business, and it's clear which candidate is gun-friendly and which one is not."
Indeed, as the vote draws near, the contrasts have sharpened. Corbett mentioned his "A" rating from the National Rifle Association - drawing applause from an otherwise reserved Clearfield crowd - even as Wolf aides were announcing the Democrat's plans to visit Philadelphia's "gayborhood" Friday night.
Corbett touched on the importance of energy investment, particularly in the coal and natural gas industries - leading employers in the region.
That struck a chord with Clearfield County residents Randy Mitchell, 60, and Steve Marshall, 51 - both of whom have relatives making a good living in shale drilling.
"Jobs, that about wraps it up," Mitchell said when asked which issues mattered most to him.
Wolf wants to tax natural gas extraction. Mitchell, who said his nephew earns six figures as a drilling company supervisor, fears such policies will drive out employers - "I'm concerned about the end of gas drilling."
Marshall says Corbett has the right combination of policies - "strong family values, lower taxes, and more personal freedoms."
Corbett told listeners electing Wolf would be like giving a third term to former Gov. Ed Rendell, or to President Obama.
"The same tax-and-spend policies," Corbett said, echoing a theme of his new ad linking Wolf to Obama ahead of the president's scheduled stop at a Wolf rally Sunday in Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, the atmosphere in Bloomsburg was electric when Wolf's bus rolled up.
He was met by cheering, sign-waving supporters, including members of AFSCME, teachers' unions, and the United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents employees of the state liquor stores - like the union, Wolf opposes privatizing the stores. Signs depicted a work boot over a caricature of the governor. "Crush Corbett," it said.
A red-faced balding man in the bleachers bellowed, "Tom Wolf lies! Run and hide, Tom Wolf!" Wolf supporters retorted with with chants of "Vote Tom Wolf."
Things usually get more adrenal at the end of a campaign, and Wolf, who earned a Ph.D. in political science and seemed headed for an academic career before moving back to York County to take over his family's business, has simplified his appeal: This isn't working. We can do better.
Corbett let state education spending plummet in his first year, and the supply-side approach embodied in Corbett's business tax cuts and spending trims has not delivered the promised job growth, Wolf told the friendly crowd. "What we've seen in Pennsylvania is not just a failure of leadership, but also the failure of an ideology that just can't deliver the goods."
Wolf's bus tour began last Friday in York. By Friday night, the tour will have made 28 stops and traveled about 1,500 miles.
Corbett, too, has covered many miles this week. And shaken many hands - in Clearfield, the often crowd-hesitant governor greeted every last person in the parking lot before climbing back into his black Suburban for the ride back to Harrisburg.
There, he and his wife, Susan, did what they do on every Halloween eve, when many midstaters do their trick-or-treating. The Corbetts donned costumes (as William Penn and his wife, Hannah) and doled out candy.