BY SALENA ZITO firstname.lastname@example.org
Lehigh Valley Republican U. S. Sen. Pat Toomey began this week with an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer with former governor Tom Ridge that sharply criticized Secretary of State John Kerry’s assessment that Iran is in full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran Deal.
Calling Iran’s compliance “a proven lie,” Toomey said he would urge his fellow Democratic senators who supported the president’s agreement with Iran in 2015 to challenge the president to maintain strict enforcement.
Toomey ends the week with the attached memo obtained by the Tribune-Review to be distributed to the Pennsylvania state committee winter meeting next weekend detailing his strengths, challenges and insistence that in his re-election contest, he will not take anything for granted.
Toomey faces an intense re-election campaign this fall: his seat is one of the most important the national Republicans must keep to hold their majority in the U.S. Senate.
Three Democrats will face off in an April primary to determine who challenges him: former congressman Joe Sestak, who narrowly lost to Toomey in 2010; Katie McGinty, the establishments pick; and Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, the wildcard who could upset the cart if he gains money and traction.
Toomey knows he has several things working against him. He is running during a presidential year, which usually motivates Democratic voters and when the top of the party ticket can impact those below; he also is a moving target for outside Democrat money who would love to see the Democrats win back control of the senate.
Late last month the Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC launched a $1.5 million digital advertising campaign targeting several Republicans up for reelection in 2016, including Toomey. The digital ads ran on Twitter, Facebook and along the side rail of digital Google searches.
Here is the Toomey memo:
To: County GOP Chairs
From: Peter Towey, Campaign Manager
Date: January 7, 2016
Re: The 2016 U.S. Senate Race in Pennsylvania
A year ago, as we entered the campaign cycle at the beginning of 2015, we pointed out how Sen. Pat Toomey was well positioned for reelection. We noted the “myth of the presidential year” – the consistent historic pattern of Republican U.S. Senators winning reelection at the same time Republican presidential candidates lost in Pennsylvania. We noted the Toomey electoral record of winning four general elections in Pennsylvania and losing none, and the
Toomey record of substance that led the Philadelphia Inquirer to comment that “It should be comforting to Pennsylvanians that their junior senator isn’t afraid to reach across the aisle to the benefit of all Americans.”
As we turn the page to the election year itself, Pat Toomey is even better positioned.
In 2015, Sen. Toomey continued to achieve results for Pennsylvanians by spearheading the passage of first-of-its-kind bipartisan legislation to protect children from predators in schools.
Continuing his focus on public safety and support for law enforcement, Sen. Toomey introduced the Thin Blue Line Act, which creates tougher penalties for criminals targeting law enforcement officers and first responders. He also pushed back on the Obama Administration’s effort to strip law enforcement of critical tools they need to keep our streets safe and passed bipartisan legislation through the Senate to better protect federal corrections officers.
Sen. Toomey was also instrumental in ensuring that multiple pro-growth, bipartisan causes he has fought for were added to the annual tax code legislation. As a result, Sen. Toomey and a coalition of lawmakers from both parties were able to suspend ObamaCare’s harmful medical device tax. Two additional measures Sen. Toomey introduced with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) were also included. These bills will make it easier for small businesses to grow by allowing them to expense equipment purchases and
foster innovation by making the research and development tax credit permanent. Finally, Sen. Toomey and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) renewed their push to repeal the anticonsumer ethanol mandate, which has been touted in multiple editorials and opinion columns across the country.
Sen. Toomey also took a leadership role in forcefully opposing President Obama’s disastrous deal with Iran that will give the leading state sponsor of terrorism billions of dollars and create a pathway for them to develop nuclear weapons in the coming years.
National and state Democratic Party bosses spent the first half of 2015 desperately searching for anyone to oppose the badly flawed ex-Congressman Joe Sestak.
The list of those they coveted is lengthy: Congressman Bob Brady, Congressman Matt Cartwright, Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro, State Senator Vincent Hughes, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, ex-Congressman Chris Carney, ex-Congresswoman Allison Schwartz, Philadelphia D.A. Seth Williams, Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, ex-Congressman Patrick Murphy, former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, former Governor Ed Rendell, and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.
After all of those options were exhausted, the Washington establishment decided that settling for Katie McGinty, the last place finisher from the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary election, was an upgrade.
The party bosses have continued to shower McGinty with endorsements, but she has otherwise been unimpressive as a candidate. Meanwhile, Sestak, who has done nothing to alter his extreme liberal record or positions, continues to lead in primary polls and cash-onhand. He and McGinty will undoubtedly fight it out to see who can move farthest to the left in the primary. They will be aided in that by the third candidate in the race, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman, whose policy positions include legalization of all drugs. Meanwhile, the Republican Party is united behind Pat Toomey.
Democrats’ intraparty fight haunts second U.S. Senate campaign,
Associated Press, April 12, 2015
Dems in disarray in must-win Pennsylvania Senate race,
Politico, May 21, 2015
Meet The Democratic Senate Candidate Who Drives Democrats Crazy
National Journal, February 19, 2015
Splintered Primary is Latest Problem for Pennsylvania Democrats: Pennsylvania Dems in shambles leading into 2016, Washington Free Beacon, October 15, 2015
Dem Senate Recruit Advised Federal Energy Regulators While Employed by Green Energy Firms: Blurred lines between Kathleen McGinty’s policy, business interests
Washington Free Beacon, July 28, 2015
McGinty disclosure form gets quick correction
Philadelphia Inquirer, December 4, 2015
Real Clear Politics lists fifteen public polls conducted in 2015 in the U.S. Senate matchup between Toomey and Sestak. Toomey led in every one of them, by an average margin of 10.25 points. In a matchup between Toomey and McGinty, there were six public polls conducted in 2015. Toomey led in every one of them too, with an average margin was 11.33 points.
Toomey Up in Early Pennsylvania Poll
Weekly Standard, May 11, 2015
Polls put Republican Pat Toomey ahead of Democratic challengers
Morning Call, June 22, 2015
Poll: Sestak leads McGinty, but Toomey rules them all
Tribune-Review (Off-Road Politics blog), August 27, 2015.
The Toomey campaign ended 2015 with $9.6 million in the bank. At the end of the comparable time in Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey’s reelection campaign, he had less than half of that ($4.4 million) in the bank. In 2015, the Toomey campaign received 27,590 contributions, with 85% of those being small dollar donations of under $200. We will not know the cash numbers for Sestak, McGinty, and Fetterman until they release them later this month, but it is unlikely any will exceed $3 million. That leaves Toomey with more than a
3:1 cash advantage, which will only grow larger as the Democrats spend their money in a heavily contested primary.
The Toomey campaign is taking nothing for granted. We have organizations built in every county. We have thousands of volunteers, local leaders, and donors. We will not be outorganized or out-worked by any opponent. We are pleased with our strong position, but we know Pennsylvania elections are very competitive, and we fully expect this one to be hard fought and close. We look forward to a great victory in November.