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So I've written a lot about Senate races in Nevada, Arizona, Indiana, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Massachusetts because they are very important races.  I will be writing my first diary on the Ohio Senate race very soon and I will be covering the race in North Dakota soon.  I wanted to take a break and take a glimpse at the Senate race in my home state.  

First off, the latest Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll has Senator Bob Casey Jr. (D) crushing Tom Smith (R) by 12 points:

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, a Democrat, continues to crush Republican challenger Tom Smith by 12 points - 45 percent to 33 percent with 18 percent still undecided. However Casey's lead has shrunk since August when he led Smith by 19 points. Smith is outspending Casey in television ads in the state. - The Morning Call (9/18/12)
So even though Tom Smith is outspending Bob Casey in ads, he still hasn't been able to close the gap by a large amount.  Here's a quick reminder of who Tom Smith is:

Mark Scolforo, Associated Press: How would you tell a daughter or a granddaughter who, God forbid, would be the victim of a rape, to keep the child against her own will? Do you have a way to explain that?

Smith: I lived something similar to that with my own family. She chose life, and I commend her for that. She knew my views. But, fortunately for me, I didn't have to.. she chose they way I thought. No don't get me wrong, it wasn't rape.

Scolforo: Similar how?

Smith: Uh, having a baby out of wedlock.

Scolforo: That's similar to rape?

Smith: No, no, no, but… put yourself in a father's situation, yes. It is similar. But, back to the original, I'm pro-life, period. - 8/27/12

It seems like Smith is getting the extremist tea party vote but it's not enough to carry him to victory this year.  You can learn more about Tea Party Tom Smith here:

A year ago, it looked like President Obama was going to lose Pennsylvania but now he has an 11 point lead.  The Republicans have conceded trying to get Pennsylvania and even Obama's people don't have to spend a lot of money there anymore:

The Romney camp clearly has signaled doubts about Pennsylvania by slashing TV ads and candidate appearances. Obama, too, has cut back, and the state lags behind Ohio, Florida, and other swing states as targets for the most intensive campaigning.

Here's why:

The Inquirer survey of 600 likely voters, conducted Sept. 9-12, found that 50 percent would vote for Obama if the election were held today, and 39 percent would vote for Romney.

Obama's lead was up from the 9 points found in the first Inquirer poll, Aug. 21-23, in which he led, 51-42. Poll results included voters who were leaning toward a candidate. Both surveys had an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The Obama edge stands where it was when the 2008 campaign ended. Obama beat John McCain, the GOP nominee that year, by 10 1/2 points. - Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/15/12

There are many reasons why Obama has rebounded greatly in Pennsylvania.  Tom Corbett, Mike Turzai and Dominic Pileggi have been dragging the Republican name down in Pennsylvania by making one stupid and extreme call after the next.  Trying to rig PA's electoral votes, voter ID laws, cutting services to the poor (especially in Philadelphia) for more tax breaks for the wealthy and forced ultrasounds.  You also have Mike Turzai letting the cat out of the bag about the true intention of the voter ID laws:

And of course there's Corrupt Tom Corbett with his staff of Macellus Shale cronies.  Now Corbett may not have had the balls to try to bust up the unions like Scott Walker and John Kasich, especially since Pennsylvania has a large AFL-CIO membership but he committed two huge faults:

1.  He screwed up the Republicans chances of making the Senate race at least competitive when he endorsed wealthy, moderate Republican-turned Democrat-turned Republican again, Steve Welch.  Welch was hated by the conservative base because he voted for Obama in the 2008 primary and he raised money for Congressman Joe Sestak's race and it only angered the base more when Corbett tried to seal the deal by forcing the Republican delegates to endorse Welch.  Smith was the only one who had a lot of money on hand to campaign and defeated GOP potentials Marc Scaringi (aide to former U.S Senator, Rick Santorum), Sam Rorher and Tim Murphy in the primary.  The primary lacked big names because there were no big names to run.  Sure, big names were thrown around like State Senators Jake Corman and Jane Orie, former Lt. Governor, Joe Scarnati, conservative radio host Glen Meaken, Congressmen Jim Gerlach, Charlie Dent and Pat Meehan, and of course, former governor Tom Ridge.  But all of those choices are terribly flawed.  Orie is horribly corrupt, none of them are interesting or charismatic and they all have Santorum or Corbett's or Bush's names associated with them.  Scarnati was Lt. Governor when Ed Rendell was governor.  Here's some proof courtesy of Keystone Conservative:

So this primary was screwed from the beginning.  Then again, this extreme shift in the state GOP was a happening in the making when in 2004, Senator Arlen Specter barely won his primary against Tea Party Republican, Pat Toomey.  Flash forward five years later, Specter is forced out of the party by Toomey and the tea party and switches parties.  Specter then suffers an embarrassing primary defeat to Congressman Joe Sestak and Specter's political career is at an end.  The moderate Republican is an endangered species, especially in Pennsylvania and the Tea Party movement has done some severe damage to the state party's reputation.  To think the Republicans used to be highly regarded in the Keystone State.  Lets not forget that Arlen Specter made the top 10 best Senators:

Guys like Ridge and Corman will not be able to run for a higher office for a long time right now unless they want to commit political suicide and drink the tea party Kool Aid.  They don't have the stomach for it.  Of course Rick Santorum's has cursed the seat of former Senator John Heinz and in 2006 was easily handed to Senator Casey.  Unless the Republicans can get their shit together and find a competent and likable candidate by 2018, it looks like Casey is going to hold that seat for a very long time and will be the first Democrat in Pennsylvania history to hold that seat longer than two terms.  

2.  Corbett's mishandling of the Penn State sex scandal.  You can read all about it here:

I don't feel I need to really go into why the Sandusky case is guaranteed to make him a one term governor.  Adam Bonin pointed this particular article out a few weeks back:

One of two things seems to be true, as there is no third option. Either A) you were an incompetent attorney general, which virtually no one believes, or B) the investigation was deliberately understaffed and drawn out because you did not wish to be the gubernatorial candidate who took down fabled Penn State - with its massive and intensely loyal alumni network - and the beloved Joe Paterno. Since doing so would have presented difficult campaign challenges, many are asking if politics was placed above children’s safety.

The article was written by a local conservative reporter who up to that point had been an ardent supporter of Governor Corbett.  Corbett has managed to piss off both sides and Democrats have a great shot to take back the governorship in two years.  

Santorum's Presidential campaign and Mitt Romney's double flip flopping on Governor Kasich's widely unpopular anti-union bill reminded the people of Pennsylvania that no matter how much they dislike President Obama there is a much worse alternative.  And Pennsylvanians should know from having both Santorum as Senator and Corbett as governor.  Guys like Santorum and Corbett are the gifts that keep on giving for PA Democrats.  

Now Bob Casey Jr. is the kind of guy that you may not like or be thrilled about but is the best guy for the job.  He's a Pennsylvanian born and bred and his name recognition and his record as State Auditor and Treasurer made him the most qualified candidate in the 2006 primary.  Plus he really didn't have much of a competition either.  But Casey gets a good chunk of the Republican vote, leads with Independents and has Democrats dedicated to voting for him.  Casey will forever be the man to defeat Rick Santorum, the only incumbent to lose by a huge margin (17%) and people will always remember that.  Now I am not pleased with all of Senator Casey votes, especially for the Blunt Amendment, which I will always hound him about.  But I know Casey is a legit friends to PA's middle class and organized labor and is very serious and sincere about creating jobs in Pennsylvania.  Plus we are seeing a shift to left in the PA Democratic voters when voters outed Blue Dog Democrats, Tim Holden and Jason Altimire for more progressive and union-friendly Democrats like Matt Cartwright (PA-17) and Mark Critz (PA-12).  

Santorum and Corbett reminded PA voters that the GOP has been disastrous for the country and are the faces of real corruption.  The voters have made up their minds and they want to give Obama and Casey another term this year.  The question is are they feeling the same way towards guys like Gerlach, Meehan, Mike Fitzpatrick and Lou Barletta survive this year?  Especially since all of them voted for the Paul Ryan budget which ends medicare as we know it.  If the GOP keeps going in this direction, not only will they lose the governorship but they could also lose the state house and Senate.  They're already poised to lose the Attorney General race to Kathleen Kane who will be the first Democrat to be elected Attorney General of the state of Pennsylvania.  And will the Tea Party be as popular or relevant in 2016 as it was in 2010?  If not, Senator Toomey could lose to a great Democratic candidate like Allyson Schwartz or even someone like former congressman Patrick Murphy.  PA has been going blue since 92 and it's not going red for a very long time now.

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Casey is safe for re-election and Obama is going to win Pennsylvania.  We might as well help make PA bluer and give Obama some more allies in the House and in Pennsylvania.  Donate to Kathleen Kane, Manan Trivedi (PA-6),  George Badey (PA-7), Kathryn Boockvar (PA-8) and Gene Stilp (PA-12) campaigns:

Kathleen Kane for Attorney General:

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Manan Trivedi (PA-6)

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George Badey (PA-7)

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Kathryn Boockvar (PA-8)

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Gene Stilp (PA-11)

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Originally posted to pdc on Wed Sep 19, 2012 at 09:02 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Pennsylvania.

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