Democrat Robert Casey was expected to be a shoo-in for re-election as senator from Pennsylvania but first-time candidate Tom Smith is giving him a run for his money.
The coal industry executive has dumped $17 million of his own money into the race and some polls in the state have him down by just the low single digits.
“Pennsylvania’s always been in play, in my opinion,” Smith told The Washington Post
. “It’s pink now, turning red.”
Casey, the son of a popular governor, wrested the seat away from Rick Santorum in 2006 and is taking the challenge from Smith seriously. “We can finish strong,” Casey told the Post.
Casey has begun running ads against Smith linking him to Republican conservatives on such hot-button issues as Medicare reform and Social Security. The most recent polling has had Casey up by eight but others have had the margin as slim as two and three.
And Smith's strong showing is good news for the GOP's presidential candidate too. Until recent weeks Obama had been set for an easy victory in the state which in many previous elections has been a key battleground.
While the president is still ahead, the shift in terrain has not gone unnoticed. His campaign this week sent top surrogates to the state to cheer on those involved in get-out-the vote efforts, the Post reported.
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