Tags: Bob Casey

The Outlook for Smith - and Romney - in Pennsylvania


Over on the homepage, I have a look at Republican challenger Tom Smith’s bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Sen. Bob Casey Jr. in Pennsylvania, a state that had seemed out of reach for the GOP much of this cycle:

Smith, a multimillionaire who made his fortune in the coal industry, is an unlikely standard-bearer for the GOP. The state’s GOP governor, Tom Corbett, backed another candidate in the primary. Smith was a registered Democrat for decades and even an Armstrong-CountyDemocratic committeeman as recently as 2010. But local Democrats said that once he was on the committee, his views and rhetoric were far too conservative for their tastes. He was active in local tea parties, and he strikes a blue-collar, populist note when he expresses impatience with Washington. In his ads, Smith projects a pleasant, straightforward demeanor, managing to denounce “what Bob Casey and the political class have done to America” without sounding nasty. He dismisses “career politicians” anddescribes himself as “just a farm boy that got misplaced in the coal mines and started my own business.” Pennsylvania’s electorate is one of the oldest, and Smith is running folksy ads pledging to protect Social Security and Medicare, featuring his mother.

For many years, the Philadelphia suburbs represented the swing region of the state. Republicans are seeing a mixed bag here this cycle. They are increasingly optimistic about Bucks County, where about 435,000 are registered to vote. Toomey won this county over Joe Sestak in the 2010 Senate race, 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent. But the other major suburban counties, Montgomery County (with 553,104 registered voters) and Delaware County (about 395,000 registered voters) are looking like tougher nuts to crack for Republicans this cycle, compared with Bucks County.

 “Turnout in November will be down markedly from four years ago, when 5.9 million cast ballots in the ‘hope and change’ election,” Lee says. “I’d put the number at 5 to 5.5 million tops. Lower turnout clearly benefits Republicans both up and down the ticket. Turnout in western Pennsylvania in particular will be higher than in the east, because the issue of the economy is at fever-pitch levels out there. Romney is likely to win big there.”

Tags: Bob Casey , Mitt Romney , Pennsylvania , Tom Smith

Obamacare Backer Bob Casey Sees What He’s Done


Pennsylvania Democratic senator Bob Casey, back on December 7, 2009:

I want to get health-care legislation passed. No one in the Senate has worked harder than I have to get this done, and we will get it done.

Casey today:

“It’s a question of whether or not we’re going to allow — as we should — an institution that has a religious mission to make decisions that are consistent with their faith tradition,” Casey said. “Unfortunately what this does is impose upon them rules that I don’t think we should impose upon an institution that has a faith mission.”

Casey has written to Obama asking him to reverse HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s decision.

Too bad that in all that hard work, Casey didn’t ensure the bill would not authorize the Department of Health and Human Services to impose these sorts of rules.

Tags: Bob Casey

Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader May Take on Sen. Casey


Right now there are nine Republicans actively running for the nomination against Democratic senator Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, but most of them are little-known and have never been elected to office before. Perhaps the best known is Tim Burns, who came close to knocking off Rep. Mark Critz in a rematch in November 2010; Burns lost a special-election bid earlier in the year to fill the remainder of John Murtha’s term.

Burns, a successful businessman, is expected to self-finance, and coal-industry entrepreneur Tom Smith has loaned his campaign $750,000.

But a veteran of state politics is considering throwing his hat in the ring:

Pa. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi is considering a big against U.S. Senator Bob Casey, the Delaware County Republican told PoliticsPA Monday night.

“I have been approached by a number of people about the possibility of running for U.S. Senate,” Pileggi said in a statement relayed by a spokesperson.

“I’m flattered by the question, and I have deep concerns about the direction our nation is taking in many areas, including historically high levels of unemployment, the spiraling national debt, and the federal government’s attempt to take over health care. I have made no decision but will continue to listen on how I can best serve the Commonwealth and the Country.”

Multiple D.C. sources say Pileggi has already met with national Republicans to discuss a bid, along with party leaders in Harrisburg and southeast Pennsylvania.

Pileggi won a special election to the state senate in 2002 and was reelected in November of 2004 and 2008. Before becoming a senator, Pileggi was the mayor of the city of Chester from 1998 to 2002 and a city councilman before that. As a state legislator, he is ranked fairly high by the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, about in the middle by environmental groups, and surprisingly high by the AFL-CIO (at least in 2001–02).

Tags: Bob Casey , Dominic Pileggi , Tim Burns , Tom Smith

Bob Casey Gets a New GOP Challenger: Tim Burns


Republican businessman Tim Burns is jumping into Pennsylvania’s Senate race.

You may remember Burns from his bid against Democrat Mark Critz in a special election for the U.S. House seat once occupied by John Murtha. That bid fell short, with Burns winning 45 percent and Critz 52 percent; in a November rematch for the full two-year term, Burns came much closer, winning 49 percent to Critz’s 51 percent.

Burns’s statement:

We are a nation at a crossroad, and we truly are at a time for choosing. Our current leadership has made their choice — more spending, more debt, and they’ve conceded America’s exceptional place in the world. That’s why today I am announcing that I am a candidate for the United States Senate.

President Obama and Senator Casey have made their choice for the future of America — more taxes, more spending, and more debt. Their choice has led to the highest unemployment in decades and a pessimism America hasn’t seen since Jimmy Carter.

Just the other day, President Obama admitted that “Americans are not better off than they were four years ago.” It’s obvious that his policies have not and will not get us out of this financial crisis. That’s why I was disappointed Senator Casey voted for the second round of wasteful stimulus proposed by President Obama. We deserve better.

We also deserve better than a Senator who has done more to help this failed President than to help the people of Pennsylvania. Senator Casey may be a good man, but he is not good for America and he’s not good for Pennsylvania.

Burns’s most significant rival in the GOP primary may be Col. (ret.) John Vernon, who’s been doing some polling:

Colonel John Vernon may be a new face on the political scene, but the results of an internal poll released today by his campaign show he has a profile that resonates with the GOP base.

National Research Inc., a Republican polling firm whose clients include New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, conducted a statewide poll for the Vernon for Senate 2012 Campaign Committee. The telephone survey was taken on September 19-20 and had a sampling of 500 likely PA voters. The full memo is below.

The results indicated that Democratic Senator Bob Casey is showing early signs of vulnerability. Casey’s favorability rating is 47 percent, his job approval rating is 46 percent, and his ballot score against a generic Republican is 46 percent — figures that are roughly in line with independent polling this year.

Tags: Bob Casey , Tim Burns

Senator Bob Casey? Sorry, I Don’t Recognize That Name.


As the fortunes of Democrats in his home state of Pennsylvania have waned, Sen. Bob Casey has pursued an ingenious strategy: anonymity.

President Barack Obama’s job rating among Pennsylvania voters is 51 – 44 percent, his highest standing in the Commonwealth since July 2009 when it was 56 – 33 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

But Pennsylvania voters tell the independent Quinnipiac University survey they oppose two of President Obama’s key issues: Voters say 52 – 40 percent that the U.S. should not be involved in Afghanistan; Voters say 48 – 42 percent that Congress should repeal Obama’s health care reform.

Sen. Bob Casey Jr. has a 44 – 24 percent approval rating, but even after four years in office, 31 percent of the state’s voters are undecided about him.  By 46 – 28 percent, voters say Casey deserves another term in office.

 Asked about the 2012 election, 45 percent say they would vote for the president and 39 percent say they would vote for the Republican who runs against him.  By a narrow 48 – 45 percent Pennsylvania voters say Obama deserves a second term in the Oval Office.

Sen. Casey’s 44 – 24 percent job approval score is a jump from his 39 – 29 percent approval rating in Quinnipiac University’s December 16 poll.  In today’s survey, Democrats approve 58 – 10 percent and independent voters approve 42 – 30 percent.  He gets a negative    32 – 37 percent score from Republicans.

“Although Sen. Bob Casey, the son of a former governor with the same name, was a statewide elected official for eight years as state auditor general and has served four years as senator, it is somewhat surprising that 31 percent of Pennsylvania voters haven’t decided whether they think he is doing a good job,” Brown said.  “That’s not that much lower than the 39 percent who don’t have an opinion about the Commonwealth’s other senator, Pat Toomey, who has been in office just six weeks.”

Toomey’s approval rating is 41–21 percent.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bob Casey , Pat Toomey.

Obama’s Approval Rebounds in Pennsylvania . . . to 44 Percent.


New polling numbers for Pennsylvania, from Quinnipiac:

Pennsylvania voters give Sen. Robert Casey Jr. a 39 – 29 percent job approval rating; by 43 – 35 percent they favor him over an unnamed Republican for re-election in 2012 and by 40 – 33 percent they say he deserves another term, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Voters split 45 – 45 percent on whether or not Congress should repeal the health care overhaul passed last winter, the independent Quinnipiac University survey finds. The poll, except for Monday night’s interviewing, was completed before a federal judge in Virginia ruled that part of the law was unconstitutional.

By an overwhelming 69 – 24 percent, Pennsylvania voters approve of the tax deal that President Barack Obama had negotiated with congressional Republican leaders. President Obama has a split 44 – 43 percent approval rating in the Keystone State, and would defeat an unnamed Republican in 2012 by 41 – 37 percent. Still, voters are split 44 – 45 percent on whether the president deserves a second term in the White House. This compares to a negative 46 – 49 percent approval rating July 14, when Commonwealth voters said 48 – 42 percent Obama did not deserve re-election.

I find these numbers pretty discouraging for an incumbent with a name beloved in his state’s politics, but the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette headline says “Pa. voters approve of Casey’s work.”

Tags: Barack Obama , Bob Casey

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