March 4, 2005


Casey enters U.S. Senate race; Hafer withdraws (Maeve Reston, March 04, 2005, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Pennsylvania State Treasurer Robert P. Casey Jr. announced today that he would challenge U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum for his seat in 2006, likely setting up one of the most closely watched races in the country next year.

And clearing the way for Casey, former Treasurer Barbara Hafer today announced she would pull out of the race just days after she announced her candidacy.

Casey, a Democrat who opposes abortion rights, has long been eyed by the Democratic leadership as a formidable challenger for Santorum, who is the No. 3 Republican leader in the Senate. Prominent Democrats including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York pressured Casey to run and met with him in Washington last month.

Even at this early stage, a Feb. 16 poll from Quinnipiac University suggested a close contest between Casey and Santorum, a leader among conservative Republicans. The poll found that Casey led Santorum 46 to 41 percent.

Signs that the Party isn't brain-dead are awfully rare, but here's one. Of course, it's going to infuriate the Death Lobby, but where else do they have to go, at least for now...

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 4, 2005 2:17 PM

I can not believe that anybody who cares about slowing down (let alone, stopping and reversing) the culture of death will see ANY value in electing a Democratic Senator in today's world because they consider themselves "pro-life". Today's realities are that all "life issues" are primarily judiciary issues. There isn't a single rookie Democrat who is going to help confirm the appointment of any judge deemed a threat to the "death lobby". So a pro-life pledge is not what Casey needs to make, it is a non-filibuster pledge.

Posted by: Moe from NC at March 4, 2005 4:59 PM

Pennsylvania still has lots of union members and poor elderly. This could be a tough seat to hold.

Posted by: Bart at March 4, 2005 5:59 PM

We'll see how good a crisis management boss Ed Rendell is, since he's facing 20 months of trying to keep the more fanatical abortion rights types in line (this ought to really get good in the fall of 2006, the first time someone at one of the debates asks Casey about his views on confirming federal judges with known anti-abortion viewpoints).

Posted by: John at March 4, 2005 11:50 PM

As a Pennsylvanian and a mackerel-snapper, let me point out than our state has, in addition to union-members and the elderly, lots and lots of Catholics. I agree that Casey could and probably would beat Santorum. Let us all hope (and pray) the Leftist hubris and infatuation will prevail.

Posted by: Lou Gots at March 5, 2005 6:53 AM

Hafer's comment about withdrawing was priceless: "I really don't know why he [Rendell] asked me to withdraw - I don't know what he is doing".

One point in Santorum's favor - PA has (since the 50s) had a Senator from the East and one from the West (except when Wofford filled Heinz's term). If disaffected pro-abortion Hafer-types sit out, Santorum can get enough support in the West to win, especially if the black community in Phila. is not enthusiastic over Casey.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 5, 2005 9:26 PM