Welch Goes Negative (Watch Video)

It’s two weeks before April 24, voters are starting to tune in, and Steve Welch is throwing the first punch of the U.S. Senate primary. His campaign launched a television ad that blasts rival Tom Smith as a “Republican impersonator.”

“Smith was a registered Democrat for 42 years. That’s longer than Obama,” says an incredulous narrator. “And Smith has personally bankrolled liberal Democratic candidates. And as a Democrat elected official, Smith voted to raise taxes 9 times.”

The ad was first reported by Tom Fitzgerald of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Welch’s camp said the ad would replace the current spots in rotation.

As the Welch camp noted in an attack website it unveiled Monday, Smith was a Dem from the time he registered until 2011. He contributed $2,400 to Rep. Jason Altmire in 2009, though Smith notes that he’s contributed over $250,000 to Republican candidates and causes. A he did raise taxes as Plumcreek Township Supervisor, albeit not by a large dollar amount.

But thus far those issues haven’t dogged Smith on the campaign trail the way Welch’s have. Welch switched from Republican to Democrat in 2005, contributed $300 to Joe Sestak in 2006, and voted for Obama in the 2008 primary before switching back to the GOP in 2009. He notes that he voted for John McCain in the general election and campaigned for Pat Toomey and Tom Corbett in 2010.

The attention has been brutal for Welch; his party registration comes up at nearly every forum and debate. No surprise then, that he would seek to tie Smith to Obama first.

It’s unlikely that the Smith campaign will go too long without a response.

Update: Smith campaign manager Jim Conroy went directly at the Obama angle.

“It’s ironic that Steve Welch, who voted for Barack Obama and ultra-liberal Joe Sestak, is attacking Tom Smith who has spent decades supporting conservative candidates and causes including founding and chairing a tea party group in his home county. This misleading attack is a clear indicator of Steve Welch’s desperation as polls continue to show him at the bottom of the field,” he said.

The spot, produced by Branbender/Cox, is solid – especially given all it needs to accomplish.

It must preempt Smith’s camp on Welch’s key vulnerability: his 2008 primary vote for Obama. It must bring down Smith’s favorable; Smith has been on TV since December and has led in recent polling. At the same time, it must raise Welch’s name ID and reiterate the fact that he’s been endorsed by the Pennsylvania Republican party.

Two media buying sources, one affiliated with another U.S. Senate candidate, tell PoliticsPA that the Welch camp’s buy has thus far not included broadcast in Philadelphia. That may change with this new ad.

Update: a source close to the Smith campaign said Welch’s buy did not include broadcast  Philly or Erie and is light across the board. Welch’s camp, per their standard policy, declined to comment about ad details.

Welch, an entrepreneur from Chester County, is facing four men for the GOP nomination to take on Sen. Bob Casey: Smith, a former coal company owner from Armstrong County; David Christian, a businessman and veterans advocate from Bucks County; Sam Rohrer, a former state Rep. from Berks County; and Marc Scaringi, an attorney from Cumberland County.

April 10th, 2012 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Senate, Top Stories, Video | 17 Comments

17 thoughts on “Welch Goes Negative (Watch Video)”

  1. mary says:

    42% of Republican State Committee members voted NOT to endorse Obama supporter Steve Welch. Even though it meant going against the wishes of the Governor, 42% of the members voted for someone other than Welch. This has to tell you something. State Committee members remember Arlen Specter all too well to support another potential turncoat.l.

  2. William says:

    Wow, didn’t know these things about Smith! He said he was an outsider, and had never held office. Looks like he was elected twice as a Democrat. He even raised taxes. I don’t know who I’ll be supporting, but it certainly won’t be Smith.

  3. Blackford Oakes says:

    Armstrong Co Resident,
    How did Tom Smith screw over his long time employees? By keeping them in great paying jobs for nearly 25 years…or making every effort to ensure they retained those positions after his company was acquired? He worked tirelessly every day to build the company, so it was certainly his right to sell.
    He is not running to reduce taxes on rich people; he has plenty of money to meet his IRS obligations. His primary motivation is reducing Government spending to get our debt under control for future generations, utilizing a common sense approach that allowed him to earn $220 Million in profits–by your estimate. Tom Smith has nothing to be ashamed of and while he doesn’t need to be a US Senator, we need him and more like him.

  4. John says:

    If Tom impersonated anything it was being a democrat. Tom is the DINO and Steve is the RINO.

    If you take the time to check the state committee vote for endorsement, in Smiths home county of Armstrong and surrounding counties of Indiana, Jefferson and Clarion, Tom received ALL the state committee votes.

    People on the state committee know who he is and who he donated to over the past decade, and who held held fundraisers for at his home. These counties strongly support him . He also received votes from Westmoreland, Butler and Allegheny County

    But what has Welch got to lose? The state committee people aren’t working for him, so it isn’t as if he is going to lose grassroots support.

  5. William Roberts says:

    Better get the whole story on Smith’stea part cult. He didn’t found it. He bumped the founder out so he could control it. I attended a few of the armstrong-Indiana Patriot meetings. I learned it was a place to listen to Smith’s ideas. And keep mine to myself.

  6. Armstrong Co Resident says:

    Sadly what Welch is saying about Smith is completely true. Those who have known Tom Smith for years know that Tom does nothing unless it helps him get his own way. He was quite open in telling former employees he was running because he was sick of the rich paying taxes. He’s a control freak who screwed over his longtime employees by denying he was selling his company until the last minute. Now he’s using his $220 million profits to pay for his advertising. His alliance with the extremely corrupt Senator Don White is proof he can’t be trusted. And the big question we all have is why are none of his five adopted Mexican children in his commercials? He should be ashamed of himself.

  7. the Rocks says:

    I revisited an old article and found some glaring hypocrisy:
    http://articles.philly.com/2010-01-25/news/24956059_1_jim-gerlach-congressional-candidate-delaware-county-gop
    “It really raises questions as to the seriousness of his ideology,” Gerlach said. In the hard-fought 2006 midterms, he said, “a lot of us were on the front lines trying to put forward good Republican values, but he decided to turn to the other party.”
    “I’m a person who has worked all the communities in this district,” Gerlach said. “I understand the diversity and the problems of the district.”
    Welch declined to fire back at Gerlach, dismissing it as the type of political “silliness” that turns off voters.

    What a difference a couple years makes.

    And then there’s this quote:
    “Voters dislike Democratic pork as much as they dislike Republican pork,” he said.
    But that doesn’t jive with this:
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pennsylvania-gov-rendell-commits-nearly-5-million-to-spur-economic-growth-in-5-counties-56878707.html
    Which also makes it jarring to see what he says at 1:25 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qj2IFfVlBg

    Who is Steve Welch?

  8. ProLife Family says:

    Remember, Steve Welch is only 35. When candidates say stuff like this they’re usually not hurting their parents because they’re deceased. Welch’s parents get to see what a swell human being they raised.

  9. Steve Sy says:

    Thank you Corbett for making the whole primary a joke…

    http://www.reformpagop.com/

  10. SteveFromUnionTown says:

    This RINO is unbelievable. He is attacking a fellow RINO, swimming in the same watering hole. I certainly hope that all the people of Pennsylvania are watching these two sling mud at each other and remember on 24-April that the only true Reagan Republican with true Republican convictions is David Christian.

    Run, Christian, Run.

  11. Really? says:

    I’ve heard Welch give his rat-a-tat-tat answer to “How about your low poll numbers” and he’s said, “I’m confident that once we get our message out, we’ll be there.”

    Well, here you have it folks! Welch’s Message…

  12. The vacuousness of Welch’s Q&A is a pattern experienced during each interaction I have personally experienced with him, as detailed on prior postings @ this site.

  13. Of course, BrabenderCox and Brian Nutt go negative. It’s what they do best.

    Steve Welch’s Negative – Endorsed by Harrisburg Establishment Insider Network of Rob Gleason, getting rich from government.

    I have the spread sheet. Tom Smith has contributed over HALF MILLION dollars to Constitutional Limited Government Economic Freedom organizations and candidates and has gotten nothing back personally. and done it with no fanfare. Tom Smith real deal; Welch-State GOP, opportunistic, self-serving frauds and phonies pretending to be our representatives.

    What has Steve Welch or even State Committee done for Constitutional Limited Government candidates like Sam Rohrer, Dave Christian, Tom Smith. State Committee takes….while Tom Smith gives.

    Negative; it’s what people without a positive record do because it is all they can do.

  14. the Rocks says:

    Again, isn’t this something that superpacs were made for? I think it says something if a candidate doesn’t have one person they can trust to run something independently like that. Of course, as someone mentioned yesterday, BraebenderCox can’t make money on a Superpac, so they recommend this negative garbage (and the blowback that comes with it).

  15. Interested Observer says:

    Much like voters were underwhelmed by Paul Huber. Lifelong democrats seem to stick together eh Fran?

  16. John says:

    This year the republican “endorsed candidate” will soon be “Specter-ed”.

  17. Fran Huber says:

    Heard Welch speak at MeetnGreet in Waterford, Pa. Not only could he not answer two of the crowd asked questions, but he spoke rapidly with typical attorney-type speech. I was underwhelmed.

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