Local
2:59 pm
Mon October 3, 2011

Big Field of Republican Candidates to Challenge Senator Casey

The field of Republican candidates running for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania is getting crowded. Christopher Borick, a political scientist at Muhlenberg College, said no candidate has broken from the pack in terms of name recognition and resources. Many are businessmen, which Borick said could work to their advantage as they focus on their opponent.

"In a year where economic matters are front and center in the campaign, their ability to claim that their background as businessmen and people that have created jobs is something that they can leverage against Bob Casey, Jr. in a general election," Borick said.

The seven known candidates include pharmacist John Kensinger and businessman Tom Smith. Other GOP businessmen who have officially announced their candidacy are David Christian and Steve Welch. There's also attorney Marc Scaringi, retired military colonel John Vernon, pharmacist John Kensinger and tea party activist Laureen Cummings.

John Brabender, a Republican consultant to Steve Welch, said Welch can set himself apart from the other candidates by virtue of his youth and his business prowess. One of Welch's selling points is that he's not a career politician, according to Brabender. He added that the Republican candidates are going to have to talk about not just what they've accomplished, but also what their visions are. "He's [Steve Welch] one of these people that, like so many others, just feels like things in Washington have gone terribly wrong. He's been equally critical of both Republicans and Democrats in Washington."

Senator Casey has no competition within the Democratic party. Borick says, "He'll have the primary season off and a chance to bankroll a lot of money for the general election, so in many ways, that advantage goes to Casey."