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Posts in "Pa. Senate"

May 14, 2013

Joe Sestak Files Senate Exploratory Committee for 2016

Former Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., wants another shot at the Senate seat he failed to win in 2010.

Sestak announced Tuesday that he has formed an exploratory committee for a 2016 Senate bid. It would likely be a rematch with Republican Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, who defeated Sestak by 2 points in a great year for Republicans nationally.

“The Senate needs an independent leader accountable only to ‘We the People,’ not any other interests … a leader accountable for deeds, not intentions,” Sestak said in a statement. Full story

December 7, 2012

Pennsylvania: Schwartz for Governor?

Pennsylvania: Schwartz for Governor?

It's no secret Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz has statewide ambitions. She could run for governor in 2014 or for Senate in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz made waves Friday morning by picking up a new finance director with statewide experience. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported the Democratic lawmaker’s hire of Aubrey Montgomery fuels speculation she’s looking at running for governor of Pennsylvania in 2014.

Schwartz has long been discussed as a potential statewide candidate, although sources say she’s eyeing a challenge to Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., in 2016. She’s ascended the House leadership ladder, taking a prominent role as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s recruitment chairwoman last cycle.

But the Congresswoman’s top aide did nothing to tamp down the gubernatorial speculation when asked about Schwartz’s political future.

Full story

November 6, 2012

Debbie Stabenow, Bob Casey Will Return to Senate

Debbie Stabenow, Bob Casey Will Return to Senate

Sen. Bob Casey won re-election today. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic Sens. Bob Casey (Pa.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) will return to the Senate, according to Associated Press projections.

Stabenow seemed vulnerable early in the cycle. But her opponent, former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R), was never able to recover from a controversial television ad. President Barack Obama also proved to have strong coattails in Michigan, and the race was soon moved out of competitive categories.

Casey, however, got his scare at the end of the cycle. His self-funded opponent, Republican Tom Smith, was able to narrow the margin but couldn’t get across the finish line.

October 26, 2012

NRSC Investing in Pennsylvania Senate Race

The National Republican Senatorial Committee is investing $500,000 of coordinated funds to assist GOP nominee Tom Smith in his challenge to Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey (D).

The move indicates national Republicans view an opportunity to widen their path to the majority, even if the incumbent here remains favored.

CNN first reported the news.

The NRSC’s investment is about how much the Democratic-aligned Majority PAC expended this week for a television advertisement in the state, which had not broached the competitive landscape until recently. Thanks in part to the $10 million personal loan to his campaign, Smith outspent Casey, $6.8 million to $2.5 million, in the third quarter.

Casey and Smith debated for the first time today, as recent polls have shown the race pulling close. Pennsylvania is not among the states that allows for early voting, so there is truly another week and a half left.

October 24, 2012

Daily Ad Track

Here’s what cut through the clutter today.

Wisconsin Senate 

It took Rep. Tammy Baldwin (R) less than 24 hours to fire back against an ad from former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s (R) campaign accusations that she has not honored 9/11 victims.

Full story

October 23, 2012

Pennsylvania: Bob Casey’s Team Disowns Media Consultant’s Comments

Pennsylvania: Bob Caseys Team Disowns Media Consultants Comments

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell was recently criticized by a member of Sen. Bob Casey's team. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey is distancing himself from his media consultant, Saul Shorr, and comments the adviser made criticizing former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D).

Rendell recently tweaked the Casey campaign, accusing it of taking Republican Senate nominee Tom Smith too lightly. Shorr didn’t take kindly to Rendell’s criticism, and let him know that publicly. But in a Saturday evening email to campaign contributors, Casey campaign manager Larry Smar attempted to put daylight between the Senator and Shorr.

“If you’ve ever met a media consultant, you will likely know that sometimes their words and combative instincts can get ahead of reality and better judgment,” Smar wrote.

Smar’s comments are the latest fallout from Rendell’s comments about Casey’s race — two sometimes competing forces in Pennsylvania Democratic politics. The exchange came just two weeks before Election Day, when Casey will attempt to fend off a challenge from Smith, a personally wealthy former coal company owner. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.

So it didn’t help when Rendell told the Scranton Times-Tribune last week that Casey “hasn’t run a campaign. He’s run one ad, a stupid Tea Party ad.” He also called Casey’s effort a “non-campaign up until now,” but the outspoken former governor made it clear that he expects the Senator to prevail on Election Day.

Full story

October 17, 2012

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Takes Advantage of National Trends With Deep Pockets

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Takes Advantage of National Trends With Deep Pockets

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo) Democratic Sen. Bob Casey (above) has watched his lead over former coal company owner Tom Smith shrink in recent months. A Quinnipiac University poll showed the Democrat with a 3-point lead this week — down from 19 points in June.

SHELOCTA, Pa. — Atop hundreds of acres of lush farmland, a bold white sign directs visitors to the “Smith Complex” — the hilltop home of wealthy former coal company owner Tom Smith.

The rise of Smith’s campaign against Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is, indeed, complex.

While some of his fellow Republican Senate nominees sunk in September, Smith shrank Casey’s lead down to low single digits. A Quinnipiac University poll showed the Democrat with a 3-point lead this week — down from 19 points in June. Full story

October 16, 2012

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Closing In on Bob Casey

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith Closing In on Bob Casey

Sen. Bob Casey doesn't have as large of a lead as he had in earlier polls. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bob Casey’s Republican challenger continues to close the gap with the incumbent in two new polls.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released this morning found the Pennsylvania Democrat leading Tom Smith, a former coal company executive, by only 3 points in a horse-race matchup, 48 percent to 45 percent, among likely voters, with 7 percent undecided. That’s down from the 18-point lead Casey held in a Quinnipiac University survey from August.

In a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll released Monday, Casey led Smith by 2 points, 41 percent to 39 percent, with 18 percent of those likely voters polled undecided. That’s down from Casey’s double-digit lead in a September Muhlenberg College poll. Pennsylvania does not permit early voting, allowing a candidate who surges late to be competitive on Election Day.

Full story

October 12, 2012

Pennsylvania: New Poll Shows 10-Point Senate Race

Pennsylvania: New Poll Shows 10 Point Senate Race

A new poll shows Sen. Bob Casey (above) leading opponent Tom Smith by 10 points. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bob Casey (D) led his opponent, former coal company owner Tom Smith (R), by 10 points in a new Philadelphia Inquirer survey released today.

Casey scored 48 percent, while Smith had 38 percent, in the bipartisan poll.

These new numbers represent the first-term Senator’s strongest lead in a public poll during the last month. Other recent surveys showed a much tighter race — although some of those polls were from firms such as Susquehanna Polling and Research, which often works with Republicans.

Still, as the Inquirer noted, Casey’s margin has been cut in half since its August poll. He’s also fallen under 50 percent.

Roll Call rates this race as Likely Democratic.

Global Strategy Group, a Democratic firm, and National Research Inc., a GOP firm, conducted the survey of 600 likely voters Oct. 4-8. The margin of error was 4 points.

June 6, 2012

Pennsylvania: New Poll Gives Bob Casey Double Digit Lead

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) held a commanding lead over Republican Tom Smith in a new poll released by Franklin & Marshall College today.

The poll, which surveyed 412 registered voters from May 29 to June 4, showed Casey leading Smith 42 percent to 21 percent. More than a third of voters said they still remain undecided.

Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed said they did not know enough about Casey to have an opinion about him, despite serving five years in the Senate and coming from a family that has been prominent in Pennsylvania politics for decades.

Smith — a former executive at a coal company — spent more than $3 million of his own money to win the Republican primary in April over the candidate endorsed by the state party. The poll suggested that Smith’s name recognition remains low across the state. More than 75 percent of poll respondents said they did not know enough about him to view him favorably or unfavorably.

Roll Call rates the Pennsylvania Senate race as Likely Democratic.

The poll also gives President Barack Obama a healthy lead over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Obama would win Pennsylvania 48 percent to 36 percent if the election were held today, the poll found.

April 24, 2012

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith, Tim Murphy Win GOP Primaries

Pennsylvania: Tom Smith, Tim Murphy Win GOP Primaries

Rep. Tim Murphy (above) easily beat Evan Feinberg in the GOP primary for Pennsylvania's 18th district. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former coal company executive Tom Smith defeated a crowded GOP field tonight for the right to face an uphill battle against Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) this fall.

After spending $3 million of his own money, Smith defeated the state GOP’s endorsed candidate, businessman Steve Welch, who also boasted the support of Gov. Tom Corbett (R). Full story

February 14, 2012

Pennsylvania: GOP Leaders Threaten to Move Primary Date

Chaos over the state legislative redistricting maps might delay Pennsylvania’s April 24 primary — a move that would effect Congressional and presidential races, too.

A later primary would give the Keystone State less prominence on the presidential nominating calendar, as well as influence several House contests, including the high-profile primary between Democratic Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz in the redrawn 12th district.

Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered a state redistricting commission to redraw its controversial proposal for the legislative districts. But there’s growing concern the state Legislative Reapportionment Commission will not have enough time to pass new maps.

Full story

February 2, 2012

Pennsylvania: Tim Burns Exits Senate Race

Pennsylvania: Tim Burns Exits Senate Race

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Businessman Tim Burns (R) left the race to challenge Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) today, citing lack of support from state GOP officials.

His departure signals Republicans are winnowing their crowded field of candidates ahead of the April 24 primary.

Over the past week, Gov. Tom Corbett (R) and the Pennsylvania State Committee endorsed businessman Steve Welch for the GOP nod. Burns suggested in a statement that this effectively ended his statewide campaign. Full story

January 27, 2012

Tom Corbett Backs Steve Welch Against Bob Casey

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett (R) gave businessman Steve Welch his backing this week in the crowded GOP primary to take on Sen. Bob Casey (D) this year.

Corbett’s support is intended to put Welch above the fray of GOP contenders as local Republicans attempt to sift through the field of mostly wealthy contenders before the April 24 primary. Full story

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