U.S. Senate Candidate Tom Smith Rouses Campaign Volunteers In Mechanicsburg

Harrisburg Patriot-News

Republican U.S. Senate nominee Tom Smith visited with spirited campaign volunteers in Mechanicsburg Friday.

The retired Armstrong County coal executive glad-handed and roused about 30 volunteers and supporters who were working phones at the GOP’s Cumberland County Victory Center.

“You will make the difference, you really will,” Smith told the cramped call center. “You will be the difference here the last five days, and I am so appreciative of all the hard work you do.”

Smith is challenging U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa., who is seeking a second term. During the stop, part of a day-long effort to fire-up the party base for Tuesday’s election, he also hinted that his latest internal poll has him neck-and-neck with Casey.

“You keep pounding on cause you have those polls just as tight as they can be,” Smith added. “We got our latest internal [poll] last night and it is right there.”

However, a Franklin and Marshall College poll released Wednesday showed Casey leading Smith among likely voters, 48 percent to 39 percent. Among all registered voters surveyed in the F&M poll, Casey led Smith, 46 percent to 35 percent.

Casey also made the case for a second term Friday morning during an appearance on WITF’s “Smart Talk” radio program.

“First and foremost, I’ve been an independent voice for the people of our state and I’ve got results for them,” he said.

“I voted for $1 trillion in spending cuts,” he added. “I’ll vote for more, but I’m not going to vote for spending cuts that devastate the middle class and end Medicare as we know it.”

Casey then attacked Smith for distorting his accomplishments in Washington and embracing hard right budget proposals.

“A lot of what Tom Smith has said isn’t true and people know that by now,” Casey said. “And part of the strategy he’s had is to camouflage or mask his radical agenda.”

Smith initially resisted criticizing Casey, but then belittled his lack of business experience.

“My opponent, Sen. Casey, I won’t say anything derogatory personally about Sen. Casey, but he doesn’t know how in my opinion to grow the economy,” Smith said. “He’s never been in the private sector.”

Smith will return to the area Monday and join GOP attorney general nominee Dave Freed and U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey at the Radisson Penn Harris Hotel in East Pennsboro Twp. for a 1:45 p.m. rally.

In mid-October, some independent polls had the race as essentially a dead heat, surprising some political analysts who had viewed Casey as safe. However, the F&M poll and other recent surveys, including The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Morning Call of Allentown, all give Casey a lead of at least seven points.

The Smith and Casey campaigns have been pouring ad money in recent weeks. Smith has poured millions of dollars of his own money into the race.

Both candidates took a break from heavy campaigning earlier this week as Superstorm Sandy hit Pennsylvania, but Casey and Smith have been making appearances across the state in the last two days. On Thursday, Smith visited Lancaster and York, while Casey campaigned in State College.