Casey defeats Smith for U.S. Senate

Story posted November 7, 2012 in Election 2012 by Emily Cirillo and Teddy Walker.

Democrat Bob Casey Jr. was reelected to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, and he won Centre County again in the process.

Casey won Pennsylvania 54 percent to 45 percent over Republican challenger Tom Smith. In Centre County, Casey won 49-47.

State College resident said  they were influenced in the race by variety of factors – not the least of which was mudslinging and a sizeable amount of TV campaign advertisements.

 Phil Hesse, 57, said he was deterred by an advertisement that identified Smith as a friend of Gov. Tom Corbett.   

“I’m not a fan of our current governor,” Hesse said. “The main reason I voted for a senator was so I could vote against our current governor.”  

In the 2006 election, Casey carried almost 57 percent of the vote in Centre County, beating Rick Santorum statewide with 59 percent of the vote.  

Before his election to the Senate, Casey served as Pennsylvania’s auditor general for eight years and state treasurer for two years. He is the son of the late Robert P. Casey, who served as Pennsylvania’s governor from 1987 until 1994.

Like his father, Casey Jr. is also viewed as a conservative on social issues.

 “He’s a pretty conservative Democrat, so I think his policies can appeal to a lot of people,” said Tom Sinclair, of Glenside, Pa.

Casey has been active on issues pertaining to the U.S. role in Afghanistan, including increasing international pressure to halt the production of ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient in foreign explosives that have both wounded and killed thousands of U.S. troops and Afghan civilians.

Two bipartisan measures have been supported by Casey and have been successfully made into law. They include the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act and the Iran Refined Petroleum Sanctions Act.  Both of these acts increase opportunities to sanction imports and development within Iran’s oil and gas sector, as well as the development of refined petroleum.  

Two bills promoting early childhood education and funding child care were introduced by Casey during his past term.  Casey was an advocate for a law that allowed more than 14 million children to receive health care coverage.  

Casey has established policies in response to the concerns people have locally about natural gas drilling of Marcellus shale and its associated risk of unsafe drinking water from fracking.

Smith became the Republican candidate after winning 43 percent of the vote in a five-way primary election.  

From 1977 to 2010, Smith was a member of the Democratic Party.