If you’re Senator Bob Casey Jr. of Pennsylvania, an embattled incumbent with a shrinking lead over a little-known opponent, you generally don’t want the former governor of your state, Ed Rendell, and your chief media consultant, Saul Shorr, getting into a public spat. You really don’t want that former governor griping to the press that you “haven’t run a campaign” and that you’ve run only “one ad, a stupid tea-party ad.” You don’t want your own staffer — Shorr — in turn accusing Rendell of “ignorance” and of being “the governor of Philadelphia.”
Things may be going wrong for Senator Bob Casey Jr. at the worst possible time in the campaign, and a window of opportunity for Republican challenger Tom Smith may be opening up.
Casey, the son of a popular pro-life former Democratic governor, has garnered mediocre job-approval and favorability numbers since beating Rick Santorum in a landslide in 2006. But, because of the relative strength of the Democratic party in Pennsylvania, few expected that he would face a serious challenge this cycle. Indeed, as recently as September 21, Casey led in the Real Clear Politics average by more than 15 points. As the month progressed, though, those double-digit leads grew rarer and rarer. By October, Casey’s margin approached the margin of error: a four-point gap in Rasmussen, a two-point one in the Morning Call, only three points in Quinnipiac.