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Pennsylvania Senate Race Tightens, Cash Could Be Why

The U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania for months was viewed as a forgone conclusion but it might come down to the wire afterall.

Two polls out this week show Republican candidate Tom Smith is trailing Democratic incumbent Senator Bob Casey by just a few points.

The new numbers come from a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College poll showing Casey ahead by just two percent among likely Pennsylvania voters.

Chris Borick, director of the poll, said the race has tightened since August because those surveyed are giving Casey lower favorability ratings and showing greater dissatisfaction with his job performance.

“And that can directly be tied to the very steady and strong attacks that Tom Smith’s campaign has put up on the airwaves of the state directed at Bob Casey.  It’s hurt his standing among voters and opened a door for Tom Smith to make this a much closer race than many predicted,” Borick said.

Borick says Smith’s campaign starts with good strategy: get on the air early and define the race before your opponent can.

“Any time you can do that, it puts the opposition at a disadvantage, and for Bob Casey, he’s now trying to play a game of reaction rather than being proactive in getting his message out, and that’s always harder,” Borick said.

Borick says Casey will have to do more to define Smith, probably with ads, to pull farther ahead in the race in the next three weeks.         

Smith is a former coal company owner, and is believed to have poured 10 million dollars of his own money into the campaign.

WESA will be surveying Pennsylvania candidates for federal and state office for the 2022 general election — tell us which issues are most important to you.