Washington (CNN) – National Republicans are dedicating half a million dollars to the GOP candidate trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, CNN has learned.
With 11 days to go before Election Day, this is the first time the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) has invested in this race, a surprise since most political prognosticators consider this Senate seat likely to stay in Democratic hands.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
"Bob Casey's re-election campaign has been as underwhelming and ineffective as his last six years in the Senate. This has become a very competitive race and we want to help ensure Tom Smith has the resources to get his message out and win in November," an NRSC official told CNN.
NRSC officials said the money is intended to help pay for Smith's advertising effort in the western part of the state, where Republicans tend to fare better. They say they may put more money into this race depending on how it trends over the next few days.
Democrats are scoffing at the move, saying they're not worried about Casey at all. A Democratic official tells CNN internal polling has Casey beating Smith by 12 points – 52% to 40%.
There is a tradition of national parties putting money in a race as a head fake as a way to force the other side to spend precious resources where they're not needed. NRSC officials insist that is not the case here – that their internal polling shows the race increasingly competitive.
So far, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the NRSC's counterpart, has not dedicated resources to Pennsylvania, and a DSCC spokesman tells CNN they have no plans to spend money there.
"Tom Smith is a radical tea partier in the mold of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock," DSCC spokesman Matt Canter told CNN.
Canter pointed out that in August, Smith made a gaffe trying to explain his anti-abortion position. When talking about his opposition to terminating a pregnancy out of rape, he brought up the fact that his daughter decided to keep her out-of-wedlock child. He quickly backtracked, however, saying he was not trying to compare rape to having a child out of wedlock.
"He has no business representing Pennsylvanians in the U.S. Senate, and the voters of the state know it," Canter said.
Still, there is some evidence Democrats are at least a little bit concerned about the race. Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, launched a television ad this week attacking Smith as an out-of-the-mainstream "tea party" Republican.
Casey won his seat six years ago in a closely watched contest – defeating GOP Sen. Rick Santorum in a landslide.
Bottom line: Mourdock and Akin have the GOP/Teatrolls crapping themselves. Three cheers for mysogyny!
Go right ahead and waste your money republicans. Your chances of taking back the Senate have plunged down the drain. Two names for you: AKIN-MOURDOCK
PA, let these GOP thugs spend money–it is sin money. They bankrupted state and sent JOBS TO CHINA. Let them have it spent right in USA. This way some redressal. Yes, on OBAMA12.
The GOP/Tea Pee pants party is a terrible reflection of what's wrong with this country. Since when is it admirable to lie and race bait your way to the White House? Is this what we want to teach our children. Win on the strength of your ideas instead of lies and emotionally charge racial demogougery
Of course they will put out more ads here. It is easy, they just change the name in each ad because the content is the same. they stretch the truth and add as many negative ideas as possible. Be very wary and search to find the truth.
Sen. Casey will not raise your taxes. Sen. Casey will not take away your health care nor will he vote for any program that will cause your employer to take away your health care. Etc.
The gop keeps lieing and telling everybody their winning ,when actually their loseing big across the board and romney the tax cheat is going to take them all down the toilet with him in less then two weeks ,not soon enough for me. It must be something he learned to tell his investors ,your winning but you lost because I stole all the money and you guys can hold the bag .gop train wreck on Nov 6.
I've been reading some of the posts by "critical thinking" and have come to the same conclusion as this article which is that the poster should change their name to "critical" because there's as much thinking going on there as there is at the RNC – a big FAT ZERO!