By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
Senator Bob Casey raised $1.09 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, bringing his campaign total to $4.347 million on hand. The number puts him on par with prospective Republican opponent Tom Smith, who also announced $4.4 million at the end of the quarter.
“Senator Casey’s fundraising is an indication of the strong support he is receiving from throughout the Commonwealth,” said Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn in a statement announcing the numbers. “With these fundraising numbers, Senator Casey is in the top tier of fundraising nationally. Senator Casey will have the resources to communicate his record of working to create jobs in Pennsylvania and grow our economy.”
Casey’s seat has been roundly recognized by national observers as relatively safe for the incumbent; his numbers are on average better than most elected officials in Pennsylvania.
The haul is on track with, if slightly below, his average quarterly fundraising in 2011. Unlike his Republican opponents however, Casey has the advantage of an empty primary field.
Smith and other Republican hopefuls are gearing up for an expensive primary battle – meaning for the purpose of showing strength, money they can show on hand is worth more sooner than later. And that’s before they even spend a dime trying to beat up on one another.
Smith, a former coal company owner from Armstrong County, has loaned or contributed upwards of $5 million to his own campaign.
Update: In response to Casey’s announcement of $4.347 million on hand, the Smith campaign forwarded a copy of its filing, which shows $4.485 million cash on hand.
Steve Welch, the endorsed Republican candidate and an entrepreneur from Chester County, loaned his campaign $1 million. Tim Burns, a businessman from Washington County, has yet to announce his numbers. A campaign spokesman said Burns contributed at least $250,000 to his own campaign and the final number would be between $500,000 and $1 million.
Former state Rep. Sam Rohrer, of Berks County, has about $70,000. Bucks County veterans advocate David Christian has around $50,000 at the close of the third quarter; Harrisburg-area attorney Marc Scaringi had around $5,000 at that point. Bedford pharmacist John Kensinger has yet to report fundraising for any quarter.
Joseph VodVarka, a machinist from Allegheny County who is challenging Casey in the Democratic primary, reported $150 at the close of the third quarter.