Although a GOP presidential candidate hasn’t won here since George H.W. Bush carried it in 1988, not two years ago did Pa. voters put a Republican governor and senator in office. But that doesn’t seem to matter, as Romney appears to be passing on Pennsylvania.
Romney has seemingly placed low importance on the Keystone State, as an NBC/Marist poll recently moved it from “toss-up” to “lean Dem” – a move they say was prompted by Romney’s actions (or, rather, inaction).
The Romney camp just doesn’t have the same presence here compared with Obama, who the PAGOP criticized last month for opening his 24th office. At the time, Romney had only a Harrisburg office, staffed by no more than four people.
Romney also has discussed what his high priorities are: reversing Obama’s 2008 wins in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.
He also plans to pick up one win from a so-called wild-card state list that includes New Hampshire, Iowa, Colorado, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin. Pennsylvania does not make the cut here, either.
In addition, Romney released his “Day One” ad explaining all of the things he would do on his first day in office should he win the Presidency.
He talked about the Keystone XL pipeline, tax cuts and reforms for job creators. He also promised to replace “Obamacare” with “common sense health care reform.” But there is one problem.
The ad won’t air in Pa.
As Politico noted, Romney’s to-win list notably includes Michigan but excludes Pennsylvania, despite the “structural similarities between the two shrinking Rust Belt states,” where labor groups flex their muscles during elections and the big city suburbs (which used to come out for the GOP) are now on the fence with their political allegiances.
“As goes Michigan, so goes Pennsylvania” is another trend, with the Republican Party picking up surprise wins in both states in 2010 (including the office of the governor) after eight years of blue statehood.
But the difference between Michigan and Pennsylvania to Romney is that he grew up in Michigan, and his father was governor there in the mid-60s. For Romney, that means Michigan might be where he should place his bet on winning in November.
However, as National Journal points out, Romney shouldn’t (and probably isn’t) counting out the Commonwealth entirely. He can wait until as late as Labor Day to decide whether he will take a stab at picking up its delegates, and that winning Pa. isn’t entirely impossible.
His firm place in the ideological middle-ground could help him win votes in the Philadelphia suburbs, and Pennsylvania – once a strong blue state – still only leans in Obama’s favor.
With the rest of the summer to make up his mind, Romney can afford to wait.