Pa. Coal Country Voters in Election Quagmire

Monday, 04 Jun 2012 11:23 AM

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Voters in Pennsylvania coal country are not thrilled with President Barack Obama, as they believe he has led the Democratic Party to the left and is hostile to fossil fuels, The Washington Post reported.
 
However, the voters are also suspicious of GOP challenger Mitt Romney.  A local radio talk show host has even dubbed both candidates “elitist.”

“They’re both elitists,” Mark Rafail, who hosts a talk show on the local AM radio station, said of Obama and Romney.

Fayette County, an area south of Pittsburgh and bordering West Virginia, is a political battleground, carried by John Kerry in 2004 but won by John McCain by just 160 votes in 2008.

The area is heavily Democratic and conservative but the unemployment rate is high and people see the president as unfriendly to fossil fuels for blocking the Keystone pipeline and for support of tougher rules on coal-fired plants, the Post reported.

Democrat Robert Schiffbauer, a supervisor of South Union Township, believes the party has moved too far left.

“We’re talking socialism. Literally,” Schiffbauer told the Post. “I fear what its going to be like if Obama’s reelected. The reins are going to be taken off.”

Meanwhile, Tim Mahoney, a Democratic member of the state legislature, said Romney’s corporate links will harm him.

“He doesn’t know the race car driver, but he knows the guy who owns the team," he told the Post. “That stuck around here, that really did.”

Obama won Pennsylvania in 2008 and currently leads in polls in the state. The state is key to any Obama victory and he must run up large margins in the cities and minimize defections by conservative Democrats in the rural areas such as Fayette County, the Post reported.

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