Romney stop in Pennsylvania puts Keystone battle in spotlight
July 17th, 2012
12:25 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney stop in Pennsylvania puts Keystone battle in spotlight

(CNN) - Mitt Romney hopes this November to do what no Republican has done in 24 years: win Pennsylvania in a presidential election.

The presumptive GOP nominee returns to the Keystone State on Tuesday, holding a campaign rally in the Pittsburgh suburb of Irwin.

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Vice President George H.W. Bush was the last Republican to win Pennsylvania, taking the state over Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis in the 1988 election. The state was a battleground in the following presidential cycles, but four years ago then-Sen. Barack Obama topped Sen. John McCain by 10 points in Pennsylvania. But Republicans stormed back in the 2010 midterm elections, capturing the governor's office, a U.S. Senate seat, and five House seats from the Democrats.

A non-partisan poll conducted last month by Quinnipiac University showed Obama with a 45%-39% advantage over Romney, with one in 10 registered voters in Pennsylvania undecided.

"Make no mistake that Pennsylvania is in play," a Romney campaign official tells CNN, adding that "it is one of the most productive states we have in terms of volunteer voter contact."

The Romney campaign says it has 21 field offices up and running in the state. The Obama campaign says it has 30 offices in the state.

Romney was last in the state in mid-June, taking a bus tour through Weatherly, Quakertown, and Cornwall in eastern Pennsylvania.

Irwin, site of Tuesday's event, is in Westmoreland County, which McCain handily won in 2008. The county, along with the other Pittsburgh suburbs, could play an important role in determining who wins the Keystone State's 20 electoral votes, along with the Lehigh Valley and especially the swing suburbs (Montgomery, Delaware, Chester, and Bucks) of Philadelphia.

A million more people identify themselves as Democrats than Republicans (4.14 million-3.08 million), according to the latest figures from the Pennsylvania Department of State, and just over a million votersare non-affiliated or identify with third-parties.

The president last campaigned in the state two weeks ago, holding a rally in Pittsburgh. Vice President Joe Biden, who was born and grew up in the Keystone State, was last there on July 2.

The Obama re-election campaign has spent slightly more than $3.5 million to run television commercials in Pennsylvania, according to data provided to their clients by Kantar Media/Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political ad spending on broadcast and national cable TV.

The data covers the period from April 10 through July 15. April 10 is the day former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania suspended his presidential campaign. Santorum was Romney's main rival for the nomination after Newt Gingrich's star faded and Romney became the presumptive GOP nominee when Santorum dropped out.

According to CMAG, Romney has yet to run general election ads in the state. But Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC, has shelled out nearly $1.7 million to run ads. Crossroads GPS, a pro-Republican advocacy group, has spent nearly $1 million to air spots, and Americans for Prosperity, another independent group supporting the GOP, has spent more than $2 million to run commercials. A pro-Obama advocacy group has spent just more than $1 million to run commercials in Pennsylvania.

"There's been an interesting split between Democratic and Republican ad activity. Two well-resourced GOP groups, Americans for Prosperity and Restore Our Future, have invested in advertising in the expensive Philadelphia market; Democrats for the most part have not," CMAG Vice President Elizabeth Wilner told CNN. "Democrats have focused their advertising on western Pennsylvania."

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soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA has a FAILURE PROBLEM

    If it is in play then go for it Romney! Obama won by 10 points in 2008 but only shows 45% in the polls? Definitely a very large DROP in support, as is seen everywhere else. As the economy and jobs continue to get worse, Romney's numbers will climb higher. People in Penn. know they can't take another 4 years like the last 4 years.

    July 17, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    According to the top of PA Republican party, passing their Voter ID law should guarantee a Romeny win in Pennsylvania.

    July 17, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. IF YOU SIGNED GROVER'S PLEDGE, YOU ARE A TRAITOR TO THE U.S.

    Willard is not going to win the rust belt states. Period!

    July 17, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Al-NY,NY

    I thought you were going to win PA Mitt? Isn't that what you said a few weeks ago? Now "it's in play?" Sounds like reality is setting in and your boorish declaration may not come thru. It's Etch-a-Sketch time yet again...

    July 17, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Darryl

    The people in Penn are hard working people and they won't appreciate Romney not comming up with his Taxes and hearing about shipping jobs over seas.Not to mention the closeing of Steel Factories ect.Good luck with that !

    July 17, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  6. IF YOU SIGNED GROVER'S PLEDGE, YOU ARE A TRAITOR TO THE U.S.

    I'm sorry, but I want an apology from Willard wearing tight jeans. He's setting a bad example for inner city youth. Plus I want an apology from Willard for putting Saemus on top of the family car. Dogs are outraged! I want an apology from Willard for cutting some poor, gay, defenseless kids hair off. The guy probably has never been the same since. I want an apology from Willard for not having a racing horse and having that wussy dressage horse.

    July 17, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    The debates can't come soon enough. I can't wait for Mittens to essentially get his ideological hair cut on stage in front of the nation. Atta girl, Mittsy!

    July 17, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. n

    No Romney, Bain is still in play along with your tax issues! Period.

    July 17, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Logic N LA

    Barrack Failure Problem- Those polls show a 6 point advantage over Mitt currently. That would still be a win.
    As for another four years- I agree. July 2008 this country was on the brink of complete failure – that was under 100% Repulbican control. I will take the past 2 years however over any of the 8 years of Bush.

    July 17, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. tee27

    Make no mistake that Pennsylvania is in play," a Romney campaign official tells CNN, Now once he release his past tax returns it will not be in play. As of now Mitt has said he will not release returns from 1998-2010 maybe he did not pay i don`t think he paid.

    July 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Thomas

    Maybe he can explain to the people why his sons avoided milatary service , all five of them

    July 17, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Larry L

    This week Canadians are protesting their right-wing faction throwing out environmental laws to allow a pipeline across Canada to the western coast – so they can sell oil directly to China. They never minded us transporting the nasty sludge across America and letting Texas handle the environmantal problems with refining the dirty crap. They do mind putting their own land and water at risk – not to mention to pollution from refining!

    July 17, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Romney is the savior of free enterprise

    Quit picking on Romney.
    We need a businessman in Washington. Just think Romney can and will end umemployment on day. With an executive order ending all unemployment benefits. ( no benefits no unemployment) Just think the do nothing welfare types will have to get off there BACKSIDES and take the first job offered to them.

    Romney for god in 2012.

    July 17, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Out-sourcing Jobs-Outsourcing-his-Money and Outsourcing America

    would be nice to see mitt robme spend all his gazziliion dollars from the Koch Brothers and Rupert Murdoch, the felon in PA!!!

    But just like Hillary said, it's a waste of MONEY!!!!

    July 17, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. Jon

    The tighter Obama tried so hold on to his messages of lies and deception ... the more voters will slip through his fingers. Today Penn is in play ... tomorrow Michigan

    July 17, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. Pam from Iowa

    Romney will never "win" Pennsylvania, but he can sure try to "buy" it!

    July 17, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. Jon

    Wow ... did you see that Washington State just might elect a Republican Governor ... if that happens ... will that mean that Washington State will come into play for Romney ... Other than California and New York is there any place safe for Obama?

    July 17, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. judy

    mitt has no clue as to the hard working people of PA. He is like a snake oil salesman. Where are your tax returnes and how about the outsourcing? Retired from baine in 1999 but took a salary of 100,000. for two more years . Give us a break you lying out sourceing stick your money in the caymens holy underwearing dufus. And they try to make the president seem un american. Obama 2012 or like with this lying clown and the people who own him.

    July 17, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Mike

    As an independent I must apologize to Mr. Romney. Sorry Mitt. I'm not voting for you. You remind me of too much of John Kerry. You change you positions far too often for my liking. I find you coddling of the Tea Party even more troubling. Bottom line is that you cannot be trusted.

    July 17, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    What happenned to your BRACKETING THE PRESIDENT winning strategy Robmey?
    Whereever the President goes that's where we're going to be yada yada.
    Got your butt in a sling behind that brilliant idea didn't you? Now you're trying to put as much distance between yourself and President Obama as possible so as NOT to antagonize him into outing you and your ridiculous lies again.
    Good move Robmey. Good move.
    Obama 2012. Because Robmey just can't cut it.

    July 17, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. Kenny K

    CNN have used this picture in so many Romney news since Primary contests. I will like to see what his crowd currently look like.

    July 17, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. rla

    Bain is the politics of Chicago- Make small things big and smear the other guy along the way! Americans are fed up with the democracts and their divisive ways- economics is an American problem not a minority issue but the president still is trying to figure that out after four years. Four more will not help- TIME TO MOVE ON!

    July 17, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA has a FAILURE PROBLEM

    Logic N LA
    Barrack Failure Problem- Those polls show a 6 point advantage over Mitt currently. That would still be a win.
    As for another four years- I agree. July 2008 this country was on the brink of complete failure – that was under 100% Repulbican control. I will take the past 2 years however over any of the 8 years of Bush.
    =============================================================================================
    Oh yes... What we have here is the meat and potatoes of the Democrat Party. The totally clueless uninformed voter. While they can tell that one number is larger than another, a feat my first grader can accomplish, they are oblivious to the FACT that DEMOCRATS controlled both the House and Senate in 2008 when the recession hit. As matter of FACT, the recession started shortly after them taking office. So DEMOCRATS controlled TWO THIRDS of the legislative ability leading into and during the collapse. And yet they somehow claim it was George Bush's fault. Truly hilarious, AND delusional.

    BTW clueless, the Republicans have controlled the House for the last two years, which just so happens to match up to when job growth restarted. You might want to get an education before posting total BS that exposes you for the meathead you are.

    July 17, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  24. rla

    To Judy– chill before you run out of venom - You are wrong and you had better wake up fast!

    July 17, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA has a FAILURE PROBLEM

    Jon - The tighter Obama tried so hold on to his messages of lies and deception ... the more voters will slip through his fingers. Today Penn is in play ... tomorrow Michigan
    =============================================================================================
    Michigan is ALREADY in play, even after Obama violated hundreds of laws, screwed bondholders over and gave the car companies to his union supporters. That's how bad the Obama campaign is going.

    July 17, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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