Rendell: Pa. Still in Play for Presidential Race

Former Gov. Ed Rendell told reporters at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., that even though Republicans are pulling advertising from Pennsylvania, Democrats must work hard to secure the state for President Barack Obama.

By Eric Boehm | PA Independent

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It’s a trap.  Or at least it could be.

Former Gov. Ed Rendell warned the Pennsylvania delegation at the Democratic National Convention here that the presidential race is not over in the Keystone State, despite reports this week that Republicans were pulling advertising out of the state.

Most polls show Democratic President Barack Obama with a lead of between 5 and 10 points in Pennsylvania, but Rendell said the GOP might be laying a trap in the hopes that Democrats will slack off in their efforts to secure the state’s 20 electoral votes for Obama.

If they decide to come in and blitz the last six or seven weeks, they can do it if they want,” Rendell said. “All of a sudden that 9 point lead becomes a 6 point lead becomes a 3 point lead.

Rendell addressed the delegation at breakfast on the final day of the convention, along with U.S. Sen. Bob CaseyU.S. Reps. Chaka Fattah, of District 2, andAllyson Schwartz, of District 13; and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who hails from Greene County in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Observers believe Pennsylvania lies just outside of the eight or nine “swing states” that could determine the outcome of the presidential election.

The Keystone State has not backed a Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988, and it does not seem to be a prominent target in 2012 for GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign or Republican-supporting super PACs.

Republicans came closest to recapturing the state in 2004, when John Kerry edged George W. Bush by a little more than 2 percent there.

But Republican fundraisers may see it as out of reach this year.  The Associated Press reported this week that two key Romney groups — political advocacy organization Americans for Prosperity and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads super PAC — have pulled their television advertising in Pennsylvania after spending about $20 million there.

But Rendell said nothing in politics is a sure thing.

We’ve got our work cut out for us here,” said Rendell, who is also a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Democrats are not alone in hoping the race in Pennsylvania will tighten in the final weeks of the campaign.

While Republicans disagree with Rendell “on nearly every political matter, his political instincts on our state’s competitiveness in the presidential race are correct,” emailed Valerie Caras, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Republican Party, on Thursday.

Caras said Republicans could rely on a large grassroots network to get out the vote for Romney in Pennsylvania even without advertising money from outside groups.

If the polls do narrow between now and Election DayMontgomery County in the Philadelphia suburbs figures to be one of the most critical parts of the nation for both presidential candidates, according to election experts.

Josh Shapiro, Montgomery County commissioner and a delegate to the DNC, said Pennsylvania is “legitimately competitive” and Democratic efforts to turn out voters are in full swing.

“It’s door-to-door, making phone calls and targeting our voters,” Shapiro said. “And we’re doing that now. It’s much easier to ask for their vote on Nov. 6, if you’ve done the legwork ahead of time.”

Dave Fillman, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 13,which represents public workers in the state, said organized labor would continue its get-out-the-vote efforts until Election Day, even if the polls continued to show a lead for Obama.

“We’re not going to change anything,” Fillman said Thursday here.

With a lead in the polls, Democrats in Pennsylvania have used the Republican-passed voter ID law to energize their base.The law was upheld by a state judge and will go before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Sept. 13.

Fattah said Democrats are using this issue to remind their volunteers how important getting out the vote will be.

The courts will do what the courts will do,” Fattah said. “We have to make sure that every citizen in our state has the right to vote, uninterrupted, on Election Day.”

Contact Eric Boehm at Eric@PAIndependent.com or follow @EricBoehm87 on Twitter.

Peter September 11, 2012 at 02:46 PM
makes sense to me
John September 13, 2012 at 01:26 AM
@Amend, I am not asking you defend Obama. I simply stated that he has failed to institute any of his promises. The only real legislation that was forced thru was his healthcare. I strongly recommend you read that, as neither Pelosi nor Reid did. Pelosi made this obvious in her statement, "you have to pass the law before you can understand it.". With these type of legislators, we are under the direction of a dictator. Obviously you are a bight guy. Rather than spew rhetoric, simply read the law. The fact that ANY AMERICAN believes that this country can include 30 million UNINSURED people into a system, while at the same time cut the cost is lunacy! Can you give everyone a Mercedes, or Ford for that matter, and say its free, and then claim it will be paid for by those already paying 70% of the taxes already. The government is broke, ZERO available dollars...the only possible way would be to add $$$ while paying nothing to the provider. My simple point is the math doesn't add up. Outside of that, nothing he has promised has occurred. We still have thousands of troops in Iraq, thousands more in Afghanistan, and looks as tho we might eventually be in Libya. Declaring the war over doesn't dispute the fact that our troops are still there. Economy, Gitmo, Debt, all failures. I want change. If Romney fails I will want change in 4 years.
joan September 15, 2012 at 04:38 PM
true true...people who "want something for free" have & will vote for Obama. They want the government to be dad & husband. sadley our country is full of lazy, ignorant people. They do not know what freedom is cause they are enslaved by what the illusion of freedom is. ( government han-outs) I am disgusted w/ the people from this country. Wake up I don't want to loose my freedom because you are not concerned about anyone but YOURSELVES!
John September 15, 2012 at 05:05 PM
@slyfox....maybe you can expand on your statement? I don think there was anything I posted that is 1. Not true, and 2. Easily supported....what part don't you understand or disagree with, as I am willing to pontificate on my statements if you wish?
Gary September 16, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Throughout this there is many mentions of God and Faith as in the Christian beliefs, one point that has not been pointed out is that every Christian religion protestant and catholic deemed Mormon a cult and to this day it is a cult, now every republican wants to jump in with him for whatever reason, mostly over womens choice or birth control.


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