US Senate Candidates Crisscross the State

Pennsylvania’s US Senate battle was largely being waged via expensive TV ads until a few short weeks ago when the two candidates began hitting the campaign trail in earnest.  Both men spent the day Monday barnstorming the state from end to end. 

Bob Casey on the campaign trail

Democratic incumbent Bob Casey holds a 15 – 1 advantage in the area of newspaper endorsements, at last check.  “I’m pleased that when editorial writers who probe pretty deeply and read a lot about my record, and the contrasts with my opponent, that we’ve received those newspaper editorial board endorsements from East and West and all across the state,” Casey tells Radio PA in a telephone interview.  “I’m very proud of that.” 

Casey is positioning himself as the independent voice for middle class Pennsylvanians.  He points to his leadership on the payroll tax cut, and the fact that he broke with his own party to vote against a trio of trade deals he thought would hurt PA workers. 

Republican Tom Smith would argue, however, that Sen. Casey doesn’t know how to grow the economy, because he’s been a politician for most of his adult life. 

Smith started out on his family’s farm and later went to work in a western Pennsylvania coal mine; he went into the coal business in the late 1980s and sold his companies in 2010. 

Tom Smith stops to talk to reporters

Tom Smith stops to talk to reporters

“We cannot continue to borrow 40-cents of every dollar we spent, borrow it from places like China,” Smith said after greeting phone bank volunteers in Cumberland County recently.

Smith has reached deep into his own pocketbook to fund his campaign, and to make up ground on Sen. Casey, who is no stranger to statewide politics.  The polls have varied in recent weeks, but the latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll shows Casey with a ten point lead (46 – 36).  13% of likely voters were still undecided.