Pennsylvania’s junior U.S. senator watched his anti-sanctuary city legislation come up short on Wednesday.
Republican Pat Toomey’s proposal was seen by some as largely a byproduct of running for office in an election year dominated by partisan issues.
The measure would have cut off certain federal funding to cities, including Philadelphia, where jails and police don’t cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
In the past, Toomey was best-known for his fiscal conservatism.
But Terry Madonna, pollster and political science professor at Franklin and Marshall College, said because this is a general election year, Senate contenders tend to align themselves with presidential candidates.
“Toomey will selectively use those issues that he thinks will help him win the election. That’s basically what this is about,” Madonna said. “And if he has to fight sanctuary cities, so he’ll do it.”
Madonna said the same goes for Toomey’s opponent in November, Democrat Katie McGinty.
“McGinty’s campaign is basically, ‘I’m in Hillary’s camp, I endorsed Hillary,'” Madonna said. “And she’s going to tie her campaign to the Clinton coattails.”
Of the 34 U.S. Senate seats currently up for election, the Toomey/McGinty contest is seen as one of the tightest in the country, Madonna said.
The race has also seen a huge influx of outside money pouring in. It’s second only to the Ohio Senate race.