Pennsylvania was at the epicenter of the 2010 Republican sweep. The party picked up both statewide offices, 5 new Congressional seats, and a majority in the State House.
But is there enough energy in the party to defeat Senator Bob Casey? What would it take to bring down Pennsylvania’s most popular Democrat?
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“Casey is very formidable,” explained F & M Pollster Terry Madonna. “The problem Republicans face is, they’re gonna have to raise considerable sums of money, they’re going to have to build statewide name recognition for their candidate, and they’re gonna have to somehow find a way to hurt Casey among working class, blue-collar voters.”
Those challenges, particularly name recognition, have proven difficult for Republicans so far. It would be a stretch to call any of the prospective GOP candidates a household name. National Journal’s (formerly PoliticsPA’s) Alex Roarty has the rundown:
- Former Gov. Mark Schweiker is being courted by party leaders for a potential run.
- U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy is considering a run.
- State Sen. Jake Corman and former Santorum staffer Marc Scaringi are in.
- U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent and Jim Gerlach, with their plum new committee assignments, appear to be out.
- State Sen. Kim Ward and businessman John Moran are out.
If Casey has one weakness, Madonna suggests, it’s his close ties to President Obama. “Casey’s a staunch support of Obama – a personal friend of the President. He’s a virtual 100% Obama Democrat and he’s been on board with every part of the agenda.”
A Quinnipiac poll testing Casey’s numbers will be released tomorrow. If Casey’s numbers reflect the strength that insiders expect, GOP recruiting efforts are unlikely to get any easier.