Vice President Mike Pence will be in Philadelphia later this month to host a fundraiser for Republican Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Lou Barletta.
Barletta faces an uphill battle against Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, who's better known and has nearly $10 million in his war chest, more than seven time Barletta's tally of $1.3 million, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.
But Montgomery County National Republican Committee member and fundraiser Bob Asher is in Barletta's corner, and he helped to get Pence in for the July 23 fundraiser at the Union League in Center City.
Barletta's long allegiance to the president didn't hurt, either, said Franklin and Marshall College analyst Terry Madonna.
“There's probably no Senate candidate in the country on the Republican ticket this year who has been as close to President Trump as Lou Barletta has been,” Madonna said in an interview.
Pence was also in Philadelphia recently to raise funds for GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner. And he held an event in western Pennsylvania to raise cash for U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus, who’s facing Democratic U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb in the newly drawn 17th Congressional District.
Jon Delano, who teaches public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, said Barletta has his work cut out for him in the race.
“He’s from the northeastern part of the state, a smaller media market, and I think he's really got the challenge of raising dollars to help him become known,” Delano said. “But it's hard to raise dollars when you're not very well known in the first place.”
Pence, of course, is well known and the hope is donors will be drawn to get a handshake or photo with the vice president.
A Republican source said the Pence fundraiser in western Pennsylvania netted about $200,000, and organizers hope for a similar take at the Barletta event.
Donors are being asked for between $1,000 and $10,000 to attend.