If Republicans are going to turn the US Senate from Blue to Red they need to win the Senate race here in Pennsylvania
where the two candidates are in a tight race for the open seat.
If you watch television, its hard to ignore the fact that there’s a competitive Senate race in Pennsylvania where national political machines and outside groups have bought millions of dollars in air time.
And the central theme? Who has the most extremist views — the former Admiral – Democrat Joe Sestak or the former Wall Street broker — Republican Pat Toomey?
“Meet Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania’s most right-wing Congressman,” jabs a Sestak ad.
“There’s left, there’s far left, then there’s Joe Sestak..,” says an ad in support of Toomey.
With the Obama Administration’s approval ratings so low, even among moderates, the Toomey campaign continually links Democrat Joe Sestak with what they consider a failed economic policy — including the bailouts.
Former Republican New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani touched a nerve at a rally for Toomey last week in Montgomery County.
“They want to make us like one of those European socialist democracies where the government runs everything. And that’s different than what we grew up with in our ideal about what America is and what made America great,” said Giulliani to a cheering crowd. “In America we always understood that you need a limited government and a large private sector.”
At the debates, in television ads and on the campaign trail, Republican Pat Toomey hammers Sestak over his stimulus votes.
“Joe Sestak voted for every single item on this agenda. When Nancy Pelosi tells him to vote he says yes ma’am but can we do more? And it’s just amazing, take that stimulus bill, $830 billion of money we didn’t have.”
Toomey once ran the anti-tax Club for Growth.
He favors limited government, and opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother.
He wants to allow young people to invest their social security savings in private retirement accounts.
Democrat Joe Sestak says Toomey and his fellow Republicans created an economic mess the Democrats had to clean up with stimulus dollars.
He’s critical of Toomey’s position on social security. And Sestak supports the landmark abortion case — Roe v. Wade — which legalized abortion.
At a recent debate the two argued over whose views represented the mainstream.
Here’s Joe Sestak:
“What I’m most concerned about are those extreme candidates that are taking advantage of the extreme fringe of the Tea Party.”
And here’s Pat Toomey:
“It’s very clear, the person who is the extreme candidate that is so far out of touch with Pennsylvania is Joe Sestak.”
Poll numbers in the campaign have wavered over the past several weeks from an 8 to 10 point lead for Toomey, to neck-and-neck, and then back again in favor of Toomey.
No matter what the polls say, Sestak never seems to take a break from campaigning.
Sestak recently took a walk through the Italian Market in South Philadelphia on an early weekday morning.
“Corporations don’t create 80 percent of the jobs, nor Wall Street, they do create wealth for themselves. But this is where jobs are created,” said Sestak.
But the shops in the Italian Market were barren, and Sestak heard the same message from produce vendors to butchers.
“How’s business? uhh, not that good, yeah? not that good. Same as a year ago? uhh..it was off last year too.”
Sestak found lots of support among the shoppers and vendors in South Philadelphia. But he needs them to actually vote.
That could depend on people like Leo Procopio, a Democratic committeeman in the 39th ward. He says it may be tough to get people excited this year.
“I think everyone is frustrated with the Administration, the White House, the unemployment levels are high…we’ll see,” said Procopio.
President Obama will be in town this weekend to boost turnout for Sestak.
Back in Montgomery County with the Toomey campaign, the Republican also urges his supporters to do more than cheer.
“This is a close race but we can do this,” reassured Toomey. “On November 2 we can take our country back and let me just close with this. I am absolutely convinced that if we do this and we do the right things the 21st century will be another great American century.”