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Pennsylvania

Outlook: Solid Democratic


November 6, 2006 Update:

Bob Casey (D) will unseat Sen. Rick Santorum (R). Santorum’s combativeness on the trail and in debates has only seemed to confirm what voters do not like about him, and the easy-going Casey is now a safe bet to win. So anxious are Republicans about Casey’s dominance, they worry that his unpopularity could drag down a Republican House seat in the western part of the state in addition to the four in jeopardy to the East.

September 25, 2006 Update:

The predictions for the Senate race in Pennsylvania between Republican incumbent Rick Santorum and Democratic challenger Robert Casey have not changed much in recent weeks; Casey has maintained a nearly 10 point lead over Santorum in most polls. This may be a sign that many voters have already made up their mind. In recent days Casey has been helped by Governor Ed Rendell, who gave $200,000 to his campaign on September 22. However, the challenger remains out-raised and outspent in his campaign. This aspect of the race is one of Santorum’s biggest advantages, along with a superior voter-turnout operation that has been continuing for over a year now.

Recently, there has been an increase in contentious ads. In one of his latest ads, Santorum has sought to paint Casey’s contributors as corrupt developers and businessmen, while Casey attempts to cast Santorum as out of touch with the difficulties of middle-class America. Although Casey maintains his lead, the race is far from over. As Election Day nears, Santorum will get fundraising boosts from hosting high-profile visits, such as that of VP Dick Cheney who recently stopped in. However, the stability of this race has been remarkable. If the polls continue to stagnate as they have after a widely broadcast television debate and millions of dollars worth of advertisements, Casey may be in good shape to take the win.

Alexander Covington, Crystal Ball Mid-Atlantic Regional Correspondent

August 2, 2006 Update:

The Crystal Ball is a broken record, and Bob Casey, Jr. leads Senator Rick Santorum by about the same 10-point margin.

June 1, 2006 Update:

Still no change, and Bob Casey, Jr. still leads Senator Rick Santorum handily. Santorum needs break, and he may not get it.

March 27, 2006 Update:

Remarkably, nothing has change. Why is this unusual? Because a challenger who is not a terribly impressive campaigner is consistently leading a two-term incumbent Republican by 10 to 12 percentage points. Bob Casey, Jr. will have to work hard to blow this, and Senator Rick Santorum will need a lot of the luck that appears to have deserted him in order to win. We never bet against incumbents lightly, but if Santorum wins at this point–even as an incumbent–it will be an upset.


Background

Two-term Republican Senator Rick Santorum is in real trouble. He is a conservative in a moderate-liberal state, and he is facing a pro-life Democrat, Bob Casey, Jr., the son of the former two-term Governor and current state treasurer. Most early polls have Santorum well behind Casey, who is leading by double-digits in many surveys. Thus, Santorum is currently the only incumbent Senator in the country who is well behind his opponent in a reelection race. Santorum has 2008 presidential ambitions, but he now must focus entirely on holding his Senate seat.

The Senator has also recently released a controversial new book entitled It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good. It has given him a great deal of media attention, but the book has been a mixed-blessing, considering its reception and the conservative family-values philosophy he advocates for a moderate, Democratic-leaning state.

Candidates

Rick Santorum (I) – Republican – Second Quarter Raised: $2,602,962 | Cash on Hand: $9,439,268
Website

Bob Casey Jr. – Democrat – Second Quarter Raised: $2,765,753 | Cash on Hand: $5,173,064
Website