Tom Smith, the GOP's pick to face U.S. Sen. Bob Casey this fall, is holding a fundraiser in D.C. tomorrow among recent gains in a Democratic-leaning poll.
Smith's campaign is feeling good these days with PPP showing him drawing to within 10 points of Casey (46-36%; it was a 16-point difference in May), and his first general election TV spots introducing the newcomer to voters statewide this week. (The campaign recently made a new buy to keep the spots on air for at least two weeks.) He'll hold a fundraiser Wednesday at NRSC headquarters with the committee's head John Cornyn and Pa's Pat Toomey.
Republicans in DC are trying to make the case that Smith's self-funding ability (he's a former coal company owner) matched with Casey's numbers remaining below 50%, and Obama possibly dragging him down, should further help the challenger's bid. Outside observers such as Cook Political Report call it a likely hold for Casey, and his approval numbers, while low for an incumbent, have been the best of any statewide office-holder. The latest poll from GOP-leaning Rasmussen Reports had Casey widening his lead to 11 points. New National Journal Senate rankings out today leave the race unchanged and say "Casey isn't feeling any heat yet."
Quinnipiac/NYT will be out with a new swing state presidential poll including Pa tomorrow, so we'll see if they did any fresh polling on the Senate race as well. (UPDATE: Q says Casey has an 18-point lead.)
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