Casey Senate campaign spends about $2.5 million in third quarter; Tom Smith has $7 million
By Andrew Conte
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012, 11:50 a.m.
Updated: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Republican challenger Tom Smith gained ground on U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. in polls after raising and spending more money in the third quarter.
Smith reported having $7 million on hand through the end of September, compared to Casey's $5.21 million, in campaign finance reports filed on Monday with the Federal Elections Commission.
Smith, 64, of Plumcreek in Armstrong County said he upped his personal contribution to the campaign by $10 million, adding to $7 million he lent or gave through June.
Smith raised $1.643 million from some donors and political action committees but spent about $7 million in the third quarter — compared to Casey's approximately $2.5 million in expenditures.
“We have gotten a lot of support from across the state, across the country even,” Smith told the Tribune-Review.
Casey, 52, of Scranton raised all of his money from donors, including $1.517 million in the third quarter. The Democrat said it's hard running against a multimillionaire who can give generously to his own campaign. Smith made his money from a coal mining company he formerly owned.
“It makes it easier for that person to have the time to do more campaigning and not have to be on the phone raising money or traveling to raise money,” Casey said.
Libertarian Senate candidate Rayburn D. Smith has not filed a campaign finance report. He said he did not raise or spend enough to meet federal reporting requirements.
Congressional campaign finance reports show millions of dollars spent on the Senate campaign statewide and on Western Pennsylvania House races.
In the hotly contested race for the 12th Congressional District, Democrat Rep. Mark Critz, 50, of Johnstown reported having $364,298 on hand after spending $1.9 million. Republican challenger Keith Rothfus, 50, a Sewickley attorney, had $168,000 and spent $1.3 million.
Few congressional races in the country have drawn as much outside attention. Groups have spent $4.6 million on the Critz-Rothfus race, more than half of the $8.7 million they spent in the state and fifth-most among House races nationwide, according to the Sunlight Foundation. The National Republican Congressional Committee alone spent $1.6 million opposing Critz.
In the race for the 18th District, Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, 60, of Upper St. Clair reported having $1.1 million and spending $1.57 million so far. Democratic challenger Larry Maggi, 62, a Washington County commissioner from Buffalo, had $198,428 and spent $432,396.
Outside groups spent $284,795 on the contest, including more than $214,000 from two groups opposing Murphy.
Early in the Senate race, Casey benefitted from name recognition as the incumbent and the son of the late-Gov. Bob Casey Sr., political observers said. Casey won the office in 2006 by beating incumbent Republican Rick Santorum.
Smith spent heavily on media buys such as television advertising and that exposure helped, he said.
“We're up on the airwaves,” Smith said. “We have been for weeks now, just letting the voters of Pennsylvania know there is a choice out here.”
Until last year, Smith was a Democrat. He briefly served on the Armstrong County Democratic Committee after his election as a write-in committee candidate in 2010.
As the Senate race appears to tighten, Smith can expect more money from donors, political experts said.
Voter polls this summer showed Casey with a lead of as much as 20 points or more. Several polls over the past week show his lead down to 2 or 3 points.
“If people are beginning to believe, ‘Holy cow, we have a chance here,' you certainly would expect to see more contributions coming in,” said Steven A. Peterson, professor of politics and public affairs at Penn State University's Harrisburg campus.
Jeremy Boren contributed to this report. He and Andrew Conte are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Conte can be reached at 412-320-7835 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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