Philadelphia, Pa.—With President Obama’s popularity ratings on the downswing in Pennsylvania and Keystone State Republicans upbeat about their statewide ticket this year, signs are strong that conservative GOPer Pat Toomey will pick up the seat of Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter—and possibly do so with ease.
Since Republican-turned-Democratic Sen. Specter lost his new party’s primary in May to far-left Rep. Joe Sestak, former three-term Rep. Toomey has either been tied or held a narrow lead with Sestak in most polls. However, the latest Rasmussen Poll shows Toomey with a 49% to 41% lead over the Democrat. This performance is Toomey’s “best showing yet,” according to the Rasmussen Reports organization, whose polls last month gave Toomey a lead of 48% to 42% over Sestak.
“Since the race is getting national attention, it should be tighter in November,” Philadelphia “superlawyer” James Baumbach said, “but right now, Toomey should win.” Another Philadelphia source predicted that Sestak media maestro Neil Oxman would unleash spirited attack broadsides against Toomey in the twilight days of the campaign.
Rasumussen also showed Republican State Atty. Gen. Tom Corbett with a handsome (49% to 39%) lead in the race for governor against Democratic nominee and Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. Coupled with other polls showing Republican candidates leading in seven Pennsylvania U.S. House districts now held in Democratic hands, there is a growing sense among pundits and pols here that Republicans will pull off a major sweep in a state which handily gave its 21 electoral votes to Barack Obama in ’08.
And it goes without saying that such a Republican tidal wave could well portend bad news for Obama in a state he very much needs to win in 2012.
Toomey on Obama and Sestak
Is this increasingly likely GOP tide in Pennsylvania related to voter anger toward Obama, HUMAN EVENTS asked Toomey?
“The outright majority of Pennsylvanians are not happy with Obama that’s for sure,” said Toomey, who finished a campaign swing in downtown Philadelphia two weeks after Obama had appeared in the city to stump for Sestak. “The people I’ve talked to—and I spent a lot of time with blue-collar Democrats—do not agree with him on healthcare or government spending. They do not believe we are having a recovery. And I’m reminding the voters that my opponent is marching lock-step with the Obama-Pelosi agenda.”
The Republican hopeful (who lost a heartbreakingly close primary to Specter in ’04, the last time the senator ran as a Republican) added that opponent Sestak has “demonstrated unambiguously he is with Obama and Pelosi and the only time he disagrees with them is when he thinks they haven’t gone far enough to the left. This was certainly true when he was out there making the case for public option in healthcare.”
Toomey’s view that Sestak is “to the left of the Democratic consensus” is apparently helping to bring centrist Democrats as well as more moderate Republicans into his camp. The Republican hopeful was endoresed last week by Stephen Reed, former Democratic mayor of Harrisburg from 1981-2005. Former Gov. and Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge—a well-known moderate GOPer who had seriously considered a primary race for the Senate—weighed in strongly for Toomey.
As he did in his appearances in Philadelphia and later in Pittsburgh, Toomey hit hard on his theme that taxpayers “should demand a vote on extending tax cuts for all by the House and Senate before they adjourn. As he put it, “The intent is there and the votes are there, with more than 30 Democrats calling for a vote on extending tax cuts. It shouldn’t surprise you that my opponent is not among them.”