Casey, Smith on trail in PA; on air with ads

Written by The Associated Press | Nov 2, 2012 7:37 AM

(Undated) -- Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and his Republican challenger Tom Smith are hitting the campaign trail after taking several days off for the storm.

Smith visited Republican Party offices in Lancaster and York yesterday with Casey's Senate colleague, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, while Casey dropped by a State College restaurant.

Casey, a key ally of organized labor, is seeking a second, six-year term and is leading independent polls. Casey is the son of late former Gov. Robert Casey and is a former state treasurer and auditor general.

Smith is a newcomer to statewide politics after making a fortune in western Pennsylvania's coal mining industry. He's a tea party favorite and is tapping his personal wealth to outspend Casey.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is backing up its endorsement of Smith in Pennsylvania with ads criticizing Casey.

The Chamber is launching ads in the campaign's final days that call Casey the deciding vote for President Barack Obama's health care law and assail his record on energy. Rob Engstrom, the national political director for the Chamber, declined to discuss the amount of the ad buy.

The race was considered safe for the Democrat about a month ago but has become competitive as Smith has invested more than $16 million of his personal wealth.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee announced last Friday that it would spend $500,000 on the race. Majority PAC, a Democratic political action committee, began running TV ads in Pittsburgh last week to help Casey.

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