Last week, former Pa. Governor Ed Rendell said it was no wonder Sen. Bob Casey’s polling lead was shrinking because, “He hasn’t run a campaign.” It went downhill from there.
Republican Tom Smith outspent Casey about 3 to 1 in August and early September, particularly in the Philadelphia market where Casey’s ads were totally absent.
The began to impact the polls, which showed Casey’s advantage decreasing from high double digits in early September to an average of 6.5 percent today (and as low as 2-3 points in some independent polls).
Here’s Rendell’s original quote, reported by the Scranton Times-Tribune on Oct. 17, when Smith’s numbers looked their best so far:
“Casey? He hasn’t run a campaign. He’s run one ad, a stupid Tea Party ad,” Mr. Rendell said. “The Tea Party ad isn’t bad, but that’s all they’ve run. They’ve run a non-campaign up until now and Smith has put a lot of money into the campaign. … You start spending money, that’ll change.”
Casey’s media consultant, Saul Shorr, shot back in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“Instructive criticism is one thing, but ignorance is something else,” said Casey’s media consultant, Saul Shorr.
Shorr, speaking to The Inquirer, said Rendell appeared unaware that Casey has two ads on the air in Philadelphia (and will start a third Saturday). He said Casey has run seven commercials statewide.
“His quote was all he’s seen is one ad; ‘He is not running a real campaign,'” Shorr said of Rendell’s remarks. “Well, we’ve been on the air in Pittsburgh and Johnstown since Aug. 1 with seven different ads.
“I guess it’s obvious that [Rendell] didn’t know that,” Shorr said. “But I guess that’s why the people who live out there thought when he left office that he was governor of Philadelphia.”
But Casey’s camp backed away from Shorr’s remarks in a letter to donors, reported Tuesday by Roll Call:
“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,” [Casey Campaign Manager Larry] Smar wrote.
“I want you to know that the recent comments by one of our media consultants, Saul Shorr, in the Philadelphia Inquirer were not authorized by the Casey campaign and do not reflect Senator Casey’s views,” continued Smar, who confirmed that he wrote the email. “Senator Casey appreciates the strong support he has received from Governor Rendell over the past 16 years in several campaigns and is looking forward to campaigning with the Governor in the days ahead.”
When reached for comment, Shorr said: “I have nothing to add and I’m fine with the letter.”
Roll Call also notes that Rendell and the Caseys have some history.
Bob Casey, Sr. beat Rendell for the 1986 gubernatorial nomination; Rendell beat Casey, Jr. in the 2002 Democratic primary for the same office.