Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Pennsylvania in Play? Pennsylvania in Play?

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Pennsylvania in Play?

Just six weeks ago, conventional wisdom was that Pennsylvania was off the table. Mitt Romney's campaign didn't list it as a top target, and his state chairman said the GOP nominee himself was skeptical he could win there. A Republican nominee hasn't won the state since 1988 and it didn't look like 2012 would be any different.

Today the picture does look different. The Rust Belt has been getting a lot of attention from both campaigns as they court white, blue-collar voters. Romney is holding a rally in Irwin, PA, Tuesday afternoon, and President Obama's campaign announced it is running a tough new anti-Romney ad exclusively in the state. Pro-Romney super PACs are also spending money there.

What gives? Well for one thing, unemployment in the state rose in June to 7.6 percent from 7.4 percent.

"I think the state is in play,'' said Republican strategist Ray Zaborney, who is based in Harrisburg. "It's not like Colorado, Florida or Ohio but as the economy flat lines I think people are treating it as if there's an opportunity for Romney.''

Zaborney doesn't expect the kind of attention that President George W. Bush gave the state during his re-election campaign, when he came 35 times, "but I think you'll see Obama and Romney spend more time here.'' Romney is in the western part of the state today, in Westmoreland County, where Democratic voters dominate but Republicans have been making inroads over the past decade.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories


Rick, Executive Director for Policy

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy, Director of Communications

I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."

Richard, VP of Government Affairs

Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "

Michael, Executive Director

Sign up form for the newsletter