Pennsylvania Senate Preview: ‘Most Expensive Race in History’

Cortney O'Brien
Posted: Nov 08, 2016 12:00 PM
Pennsylvania Senate Preview: ‘Most Expensive Race in History’

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Pennsylvania SenatePat Toomey (R) v. Katie McGinty (D)

There must be a reason why the major parties have shelled out over $139 million for the Keystone State. “The most expensive Senate race in history” is an important one for the makeup of the Senate. Here’s how the race is shaping up.

The polls: McGinty is up 2 points in the Real Clear Politics average.

The contenders: Toomey, the incumbent senator, was sworn in in 2011 after beating veteran senator Arlen Specter, who had served since 1981. Before jumping into a career in politics, Toomey worked as a Wall Street banker. This year, he has been struggling to defend his title. He has been hobbled by his refusal to announce whether he’s voting for his party’s nominee, Donald Trump. Toomey’s Democratic challenger, Katie McGinty, is a formal environmental advisor to Vice President Al Gore and President Bill Clinton.

The issues: Abortion, gun rights, email scandals. An unlikely demographic could keep Toomey is in his Senate seat: gun control advocates. Thanks to his coauthoring a gun control bill (which ultimately failed) and his effort to expand background checks, the Republican earned the endorsement of groups like Mayors Against Illegal Guns and praise from Everytown for Gun Safety. In addition to his appeal to moderate voters, Toomey also predicted “there are a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters who are going to support me.” Yet, Toomey may be a bit more cautious in advertising his gun control record, considering he recently drew criticism from President Obama by using a sound bite of his in a recent ad.

McGinty, meanwhile, like her party’s nominee, is trying to fight off her own email scandal. The Pennsylvania GOP obtained emails showing she may have violated ethics guidelines by planning her Senate run on government time when she was working as Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff. She has gone on the offense though, when it comes to women’s issues. Toomey and Trump, she told voters, both want to defund Planned Parenthood and scale back women’s health care. “Both want to ban abortion and make the right to choose a crime,” she has insisted.

Polls in Pennsylvania close at 8 p.m. Stay at Townhall for coverage.