Pennsylvania senate race heats up

CENTER CITY - September 28, 2012

Smith, the farmer and coal executive from Western Pennsylvania is travelling across the state trying to garner more votes.

He's challenging Senator Casey as the incumbent seeks a second term in the U.S. Senate.

Smith is running on traditional Republican boilerplate. In his platform he wants to cut the deficit, get rid of President Obama's healthcare reforms, cut taxes and blame Democrats like Casey for the nation's problems.

"Not once in that time has he come forward with a plan on here is how we grow this economy, here is how we get deficit spending under control," said Smith.

Senator Casey says his challenger is a creation of the far right GOP 2012 playbook.

"My opponent is supporting a plan that would change Medicare as we know it and the guaranteed benefit and make seniors pay more. I'm opposed to that kind of proposal on Medicare," said Casey.

For months Senator Casey enjoyed a lead of 18 or more percentage points but recent polls suggest Smith's negative ads have cut that lead at least in half.

One respected poll has Smith within a striking distance of Senator Casey at only six points behind. However other major polls say Casey continues to have a double digit lead.

"Still a lot of people not working here; in Pennsylvania we still have 525,000 people out of work. When we have that high a number, people are going to be very concerned about the economy and that alone is going to make it a competitive race," said Senator Casey.

"He seems to be a follower, which explains possibly why he votes 92-94 percent of the time with the current administration," said Smith.

This is Smith's first plunge into the political arena while Senator Casey is seasoned and well-known across the commonwealth.

Now a once sleepy race is sure to intensify as the election season heads into the home stretch.

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