It got a little bit lost in the getaway day shuffle, but some pretty big news for the Pennsylvania Senate race came down on Friday from local outlets in State College: State Senate Appropriations Chairman Jake Corman will not run against Sen. Bob Casey next year. Statecollege.com spoke to Corman:
"I gave it a lot of thought, and I just didn't feel it was the right time for me to enter a statewide race," Corman said. "It is not something that I am going to seek."
Specifically, Corman said, he considered "family, professional life, what's in the best interest for (my) wife and kids, career, quality of life afterward -- all those kinds of things" in reaching his decision.
Corman is yet another big name to turn down the chance to take on the first-termer who rode the Democratic wave, his father's name and a controversial incumbent to a landslide win in 2006. Republicans won statewide twice in 2010 but in a presidential year Casey will be tough to unseat. The big question for any Republican looking to take on Casey is: Will Pennsylvania go red in the presidential race for the first time since 1988? With Casey outperforming President Barack Obama in the polls, it's going to be hard to beat him without Obama losing the state in a nationwide sweep for, say, Allentown tourist Mitt Romney.
So far the state's Republican Congressional delegation is declining to get into the race, leaving Republican recruiters looking for a self-funder or be left with unknowns like former Rick Santorum staffer Marc Scaringi, a Harrisburg attorney, and Scranton tea party organizer Laureen Cummings. In a Sunday piece, the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader looked at Casey's re-election chances showing evidence of his strengths but also pointing out that anything can happen in these things:
Still, Cook Political Report’s Duffy said that 16 months before Election Day is too early to proclaim the Pennsylvania Senate race to be over. Her “cautionary tale,” Duffy said, is what happened in Wisconsin in 2010. There, seemingly safe incumbent Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold was defeated by Republican Ron Johnson, and Johnson wasn’t even a candidate at this point in that race.
Casey “starts off in a good place, but you have to see who eventually gets in” on the Republican side, Duffy said.
And this afternoon brings news of another solid fundraising quarter for Casey, as he raised $1.3 million in the second quarter and has $3.1 million in the bank.
"Sen. Casey set another fundraising record by posting his strongest quarter yet," said Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn in a release. "Even without a top-tier opponent, Sen. Casey is still building a sizable war chest. This fundraising advantage combined with strong poll numbers and a record of fighting for Pennsylvanians puts him in a strong position entering his re-election bid. As a senator, he has fought for middle class Pennsylvanians - working to create jobs, fighting unfair trade practices that send jobs overseas and helping manufacturers in Pennsylvania."
UPDATE: 4:40 p.m. The National Republican Senatorial Committee responded to the fundraising news with a statement saying Casey should have been spending more time on the budget than raising dough. From spokesman Chris Bond:
“Perhaps if Senator Casey spent as much time focusing on Pennsylvania jobs and reining in wasteful Washington spending as he does jetting around raising campaign cash with President Obama, Pennsylvania wouldn’t be facing 7.4% unemployment and our country wouldn’t be facing a $14.3 trillion debt. No amount of campaign money is going to distract voters from Casey’s broken promises and rubberstamp support for Obama’s failed tax-and-spend policies in Washington.”
Associated Press photo of Obama and Casey by Charles Rex Arbogast.