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Pennsylvania Senate Candidates Making Last Push Before Elections

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The candidates for U.S. Senate are making a final campaign push before the election on Tuesday. Democratic incumbent Senator Bob Casey repeatedly refers to Republican Tom Smith as having a radical agenda.

“What we can’t do is have folks buy into a radical agenda that says that the only way you can balance a budget is to take away the guaranteed benefit of Medicare.  That is radical, it’s wrong,”  said Casey who is seeking a second six-year term.

Smith argued his supporters do not see it that way. “No matter where I travel in Pennsylvania, what people want to talk about, and these people are no different, is jobs and the economy,” Smith said. “And that is what this election’s about.  And I brought forth a plan to grow the economy, and that’s what I’ve done since I was 19 years old, was run businesses,” he said.

Smith supports allowing future Medicare recipients to use a government check to cover the cost of private health care as a way to reduce the government program’s cost, but Casey calls that a voucher system and aligned Smith with Republican plans in Congress to bring more dramatic changes to Medicare.

Casey said he has worked on legislation that keeps an eye out for the middle class, like a trade adjustment assistance bill, which became law as part of a larger trade package. He also pointed to his good working relationship with Pennsylvania’s Republican junior U.S. Senator, Pat Toomey.

“Whether it’s on working together to recommend judges to the administration, whether it’s working to make changes to the health care bill, which we’ve done together,” Casey said.

Smith acknowledged the race has taken a nasty turn, especially in the TV ads both candidates are airing. “I wished it wasn’t negative, and I’ve tried very, very hard not to say, as I’ve stated to you, I will not say anything derogatory personally about Senator Bob Casey, but his voting record?  It’s fair game,” Smith said.

Casey noted editorial endorsements he has received from Philadelphia Inquirer and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. However, Smith also received endorsements from the Lancaster New Era and the Tri-County Courier Express in western Pennsylvania.

A recent Franklin and Marshall College poll showed Casey up by nine points among likely Pennsylvania voters.

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.