Republican Tom Smith's US Senate campaign issued a memo to reporters this afternoon arguing he is the best GOP candidate to take on incumbent Democrat Bob Casey this year, enjoying a fundraising edge over his remaining opponents (fueling two TV ads already) as well as a lead in (internal) polling.
"With his financial and infrastructure advantages, as well as the lack of a clear opponent, there is no reason to believe Smith won't continue to improve his position in the immediate future," campaign advisor Mark Harris writes.
As for the Republican state committee endorsement coming up in two weeks, he writes: "With Tim Burns and Steve Welch fighting for survival in the endorsement process - both having stated they would not proceed without the endorsement - the two have recently engaged in negative attacks. Whereas, the Smith campaign continues to benefit through running a positive introductory campaign."
The full memo from Harris is after the jump:
M E M O R A N D U M
From: Mark Harris, Advisor
To: Tom Smith for Senate
Re: Assessment of Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Senate Primary
There can be little doubt that Tom Smith is the frontrunner for the Republican nomination for U.S Senate. In just a few months Tom Smith has amassed substantial advantages in financial resources, infrastructure, endorsements, and message. These advantages have become apparent in polling data which now shows Tom Smith leading the field. With Smith's conservative credentials, professional campaign and significant resources, there is no reason to believe he won't maintain and expand this lead.
SUBSTANTIAL ADVANTAGE IN RESOURCES
At the close of the fourth quarter, Tom Smith reported $4.4 million cash on hand. This is more than four times the amount reported by his closest competitor Steve Welch.
Additionally, Smith raised in the neighborhood of $130,000 in donor contributions, again leading the field.
Smith's substantial lead in resources has allowed him to run a statewide television media campaign, something his opponents have been unable to answer.
LEADING IN INFRASTRUCTURE
The Smith campaign's resources have allowed us to immediately hire an experienced and professional staff (currently seven full-time employees) and a respected team of local and nationally prominent consultants and vendors. Additionally Smith has already opened two headquarters (Allegheny and Montgomery), expanding the campaign's grassroots footprint.
Tom Smith has rolled out more endorsements from elected Republicans than the rest of the field combined - both in his western region base and across the state. The immediate support of a geographically diverse group of elected Republicans should answer questions about Smith's previous affiliation with the Democrat party - a question his opponents also face.
Having never ran for high office before, Smith's businessman/job creator credentials have him well positioned for a primary and general election environment that has grown distrustful of "professional politicians."
Internal polling data has demonstrated that Republican primary voters are highly receptive to Smith's personal story, including:
- Building business from scratch, taking risk
- Father of seven, grandfather of eight
- o Adopting four children
- Agriculture/Energy Background
- Strong pro-life, pro-second amendment, pro-growth positions
- Prior affiliation as regional Tea Party leader
EARLY POLLING LEAD
Completely unknown to the electorate just months ago, Tom Smith has now opened a comfortable polling lead. An internal poll conducted on December 21st showed Smith at 22%, leading his closest competitor, 18-year State Rep. and former statewide candidate Sam Rohrer, by 7 points. With Smith's continued presence on television, that lead is likely to have increased since late December.
CAMPAIGN OUTLOOK/RACE DYNAMICS
For the above mentioned reasons Tom Smith is clearly the frontrunner in the race for the Republican nomination. With his financial and infrastructure advantages, as well as the lack of a clear opponent, there is no reason to believe Smith won't continue to improve his position in the immediate future.
REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE ENDORSEMENT
An unlikely audience for Tom Smith's outsider candidacy, he has done exceedingly well in the regional caucus votes to date. Winning last weekend's Northeast Central caucus, and finding his campaign in second place (leading welch, trailing Burns) through three regional caucus events.
With Tim Burns and Steve Welch fighting for survival in the endorsement process - both having stated they would not proceed without the endorsement - the two have recently engaged in negative attacks. Whereas, the Smith campaign continues to benefit through running a positive introductory campaign.
Regardless of the endorsement outcome, Smith's strong showing, paired with the developing feud between Burns and Welch will ensure that no candidate receives a "mandate," or even majority support coming out of the endorsement process. This increases the likelihood that the Committee may favor an open primary when they meet later this month. All positive outcomes for Smith.
Tom Smith is the only candidate with the resources to wage a significant and sustained network television advertising effort. Smith should enter April with a substantial lead, and with or without the committee endorsement; Tom Smith's opponents will have a difficult time raising the funds necessary to mount a last minute challenge.
Tom Smith's opponents have failed to demonstrate the resources to mount a credible challenge, nor the unification of "establishment" or grassroots support.
Tom Smith remains in a strong position to win the Republican nomination and take on Senator Casey in November.