Toomey’s split strat­egy em­braces Kaine and attacks Clin­ton

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Marc Levy

HARRISBURG >> Repub­li­can U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, in a cam­paign pitch to mod­er­ate vot­ers, has launched a TV ad that re­counts praise from Demo­cratic vice pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Tim Kaine, but he also is on TV at­tack­ing Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton in other parts of the state.

The first-term Toomey is pur­su­ing the split-state strat­egy as he tries to ward off a strong chal­lenge by Demo­crat Katie McGinty, who served as a top en­vi­ron­men­tal pol­icy ad­viser to Bill Clin­ton’s White House and as Demo­cratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff.

Toomey is among the Sen­ate’s most en­dan­gered Repub­li­cans, run­ning for re-elec­tion in Demo­crat­i­clean­ing Penn­syl­va­nia af­ter com­pil­ing one of the most con­ser­va­tive vot­ing records in Congress. The GOP is strug­gling to keep its 54-46 Sen­ate ma­jor­ity, and the neck-and-neck race could tip con­trol to Democrats.

A key part of Toomey’s cam­paign strat­egy is to show his in­de­pen­dence from his party, like his re­fusal to en­dorse Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump.

In a cam­paign visit Wed­nes­day in Philadel­phia’s sub­urbs, Kaine men­tioned the Toomey ad, not­ing he’d once com­pli­mented Toomey as “a de­cent per­son, a civil per­son.” But he crit­i­cized Toomey for “nei­ther con­demn­ing nor em­brac­ing” Trump.

“It’s whether some­body stands up for your val­ues,” Kaine, a U.S. se­na­tor from Vir­ginia, told the crowd at Bucks County Com­mu­nity Col­lege in New­town.

He added, “I think Don­ald Trump poses a clear enough chal­lenge that peo­ple ought to be able to go on the record and say what they think about him.”

Clin­ton holds a sin­gledigit polling lead over Trump in Penn­syl­va­nia, which has backed the Demo­crat in six straight pres­i­den­tial elec­tions and whose 20 elec­toral votes are a cru­cial step­ping stone to vic­tory.

The heav­ily pop­u­lated and mod­er­ate Philadel­phia sub­urbs are the clos­est thing to a must-win re­gion in Penn­syl­va­nia and are where the Toomey ad men­tion­ing Kaine is run­ning.

The ad cites a 2013 news ar­ti­cle in which Kaine com­mended Toomey’s se­ri­ous­ness, in­tel­lect and ci­vil­ity while they worked on a bi­par­ti­san bud­get com­mit­tee. It also re­counts praise by Demo­cratic ex-Gov. Ed Ren­dell of Toomey as “a man of un­com­mon de­cency” as Toomey crossed party lines in 2013 to push for leg­is­la­tion to ex­pand back­ground checks on firearms pur­chases.

Mean­while, a TV ad say­ing Toomey “will fight Clin­ton’s lib­eral agenda” is run­ning in Penn­syl­va­nia’s more con­ser­va­tive north­east­ern mar­ket. McGinty is closely aligned with Clin­ton, and the ad’s nar­ra­tor says, “with McGinty it’s a blank check for ev­ery­thing that Hil­lary wants.”

“Penn­syl­va­nia is a di­verse state,” Toomey’s cam­paign said in a state­ment. “You don’t see Katie McGinty brag­ging about her rad­i­cal abor­tion po­si­tion out­side of Philadel­phia, or talk­ing about how she wants to bank­rupt coal com­pa­nies and their work­ers in south­west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia.”

McGinty’s cam­paign re­sponded that Toomey is only con­sis­tent about ly­ing about her in ev­ery part of Penn­syl­va­nia.

“Un­for­tu­nately for Pat Toomey, Katie talks about pro­tect­ing women’s health in ev­ery part of the com­mon­wealth, and women in ev­ery part of Penn­syl­va­nia know Pat Toomey wanted to shut down the government in or­der to de­fund Planned Par­ent­hood,” McGinty’s cam­paign said in a state­ment.

A key part of Toomey’s cam­paign strat­egy is to show his in­de­pen­dence from his party, like his re­fusal to en­dorse Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump.

MATT ROURKE — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In this Mon­day com­bi­na­tion of pho­tos, Penn­syl­va­nia U.S. Sen­ate can­di­dates Demo­crat Katie McGinty, left, and Repub­li­can Sen. Pat Toomey take part in a de­bate at Tem­ple Univer­sity in Philadel­phia.

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