GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney now has a real chance to capture Pennsylvania, according to Wall Street Journal
editorial board member Matthew Kaminski.
The Keystone state and its 20 electoral votes was once thought to be firmly in Democratic hands. President Barack Obama won the state by a whopping 10 percentage points in 2008.
But now Real Clear Politics’ compilation of major polls since the first presidential debate Oct. 3 shows Obama with an average lead of only 4.7 points. Real Clear rates the state a toss-up.
Pennsylvania should be fertile ground for GOP presidential candidates. The party controls 52 of 67 counties and 12 of 19 congressional districts, according to Kaminski. Republicans also lay claim to both houses of the state legislature and the governor's mansion. Republican Pat Toomey was elected to the Senate in 2010.
But GOP presidential nominees haven’t fared well recently. Pennsylvania last voted for one in 1988 — George H.W. Bush. His son worked hard to win the state in 2004 but lost by 2.5 points.
The key area is suburban Philadelphia, and many Republicans there grew enthusiastic about Romney after the first debate.
“He looks and sounds like Republicans whom Pennsylvanians have voted for in the past. Texas swagger and Sarah Palin didn't play well,” Kaminski writes.
In addition, the Republican ground game has improved since 2008, he says. “As in Ohio, the Romney campaign has been able to tap local evangelicals and tea-party activists and has built up a decent infrastructure with 24 offices and 60 staffers in the state.”
As for Democrats, "we're nervous," says former Gov. Ed Rendell.
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