Day By Day

Friday, June 16, 2006

Pennsylvania Politics -- Madonna's Post-Mortem on Swann's Campaign

Terry Madonna notes that Lynn Swann is running well behind Ed Rendell in the gubenatorial race and, more importantly, has lagged far behind in fundraising. He doesn't come right out and say it, but it seems clear that he, reflecting the opinion of Republican Party pros, thinks Swann is a cooked goose.

He blames Swann for not seeming to be fully committed to the campaign.

He blames party leaders for short circuiting the campaigns of other candidates for the Republican nomination and thus depriving Swann of early challenges that would have sharpened his skills.

He also notes that Pennsylvania voters, especially the Republican rank and file, are pissed and want dramatic change, but Swann has not been able to come across as a plausible agent of change.

And the Republican Party is fighting a civil war that ensures that whatever Swann does, a lot of his potential voters will be upset.

Madonna doesn't say that defeat is inevitable, but he sure doesn't sound optimistic.

Read it here.

But consider this:

The latest Strategic Vision Poll only has Rendell up by 11 points, 49% to 38%. [here] That is by no means an unbridgable gap, especially since Fast Eddie is still below 50%. So, don't give up yet.

The same poll has Casey leading Santorum 49% to 40%. That, too, is a far from impossible gap to close.

Two things to note here:

Pennsylvanians are not exactly thrilled with the Democrat candidates. Neither is at or over 50%.

The weakness of both Republican candidates reflects the divisions within the Republican Party itself. The fate of both Swann and Santorum will probably be determined on the basis of whether or not the Republicans can kiss and make up more than by the efforts of the candidates themselves. What I'm saying is that if Republicans suffer a double dip defeat this fall, blame the State Party leaders, not the candidates.

Stay tuned....


From Swannblog:

President Bush will be jetting in Lancaster county for a fundraiser on August 16. Joel Mack, the regional political director for Swann/Matthews, told the Lancaster New Era that unless the White House wants to do something else, it will be a private fundraiser only. The President is usually good for about $800,000 to a million dollars for one of these things in Pennsylvania, the paper reports, so this should help big time.

Read it here.

The consensus is that Swann's biggest problem is his inability to compete with Ed "the piranha of fundraising" Rendell. Bush;s visit will go a long way toward making Swann more competitive, at least enough to start getting TV spots out. TV presence is one of Swann's greatest assets and he needs to exploit it to the max. And what is more, I have a feeling that, with Bush now playing offense, it will be to a candidate's benefit to be seen with him as we move into the election season.


Santorum's prayers may have been answered. Chris at Grassroots PA reports:

The campaigns of US Senator, Rick Santorum and Green Party US Senate candidate, Carl Romanelli have agreed today to begin discussions concerning the debate schedule and format for the upcoming general election. Both candidates are hoping that the Casey campaign also will agree to discussions. “I was pleased to be contacted by the senator’s campaign,” said Romanelli. “I’ve always believed debate on the substance of issues is the best method for Pennsylvanians to learn where candidates stand on issues.”
Thus far the Carl Romanelli for Senate campaign has acquired over half over the 67,072 signatures needed with six weeks to ago until the Aug 1 deadline

Read it here.

Not only might this flush Casey out into the open and force him into a debate situation that might embarrass him, but a viable Green candidate could draw off at least a couple of percentage points from Casey's totals and make Santorum's job easier.

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