The five Republicans battling to take on U.S. Sen. Bob Casey in the fall are still battling among themselves over their past records -- two leading candidates are former Democrats (a no-no during purity test primary season), and another (poll leader Sam Rohrer) voted in favor of an unpopular legislative pay raise that has long dogged candidates.
From Chris Brennan at the Philly Daily News:
"It's true I was a Democrat, but I was conservative, so I really wasn't a Democrat," Smith explained, adding that he chaired a county tea party organization.
Welch, who voted for President Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary election, said he had gone to "painstaking lengths" to be clear about his political history. He renounced his support of Obama, while noting that Smith raised taxes during his time as a township supervisor and accusing him of trying to hide his political history.
Bucks County businessman David Christian joined the fray by noting that a company Welch owned had sought a $600,000 state loan while Gov. Ed Rendell was in office.
Welch brushed off the claim, saying that an employee had applied for the loan but that the company never followed through.
Former State Rep. Sam Rohrer of Berks County, who served nine terms before running for governor against Corbett in the 2010 primary election, said the April 24 primary was about who would "bear the conservative standard" against Casey.
Smith shot back, noting that he had supported Rohrer with campaign contributions.
"I'm glad you thought enough of me before I became a Republican to cash my check," Smith said, drawing laughs from the crowd.
Smith pressed forward on an issue that dogged Rohrer in his bid for governor: his 2005 vote for a legislative pay raise.
Democrats of course are eating up the infighting (instead of having to worry about their own) so sent along the video below of Welch pressing Smith on his past votes for Democratic candidates. Smith says he can't remember, and asks Welch what he had for breakfast 3 weeks ago: