RepublicanSenate’s only endorsed Democrat now leads Senator Mudd by 11 points according to a Rasmussen poll out today. Bob Casey, Jr. Is amazingly running a Senate campaign based solely on his father’s name. He has stated his positions on a number of important issues, but remains very low-key. On the other hand, the incumbent has been all over the news, most recently to promote the nomination of Judge Roberts. Mudd is outraising Casey by about $4 million, but Casey’s fundraising has picked up and it now appears that he will have enough to compete.
At a convenient time for Casey, DNC Chair Howard Dean is now pitching a willingness to accept pro-life Democrats. If Democrats are willing to overlook Casey’s pro-life position, it now appears that he will have a smooth road to the Senate. Even so, appearances can be deceiving. Mudd is a strong campaigner. It is still over 17 months out, and Mudd’s money advantage will come into play eventually. He will need to rely heavily on the President getting a boost in the polls.
The wild card in the mix is what becomes of President Bush’s judicial nominees. If all of his nominees prove themselves willing to pay more attention to the Constitution than to bad precedent, especially on the matter of Roe, conservatives may be willing to forgive Mudd for his transgressions and turn out to keep the Republican majority. If, on the other hand, any of President Bush’s nominees act more like Souter than Scalia, conservatives will at the very least not vote for Mudd, but quite possibly actually turn out to back Casey, a candidate who is tailor-made for Reagan Democrats.
While I am hesitant to bet against an incumbent of either party in any race, Casey clearly has an advantage here. Put this race in the “Lean Democrat” category.