One election down, next begins for Bob Casey
HAVERFORD >> Walking into Green Engine Coffee Co. in Haverford last week, a post-modern, stylish getaway with wooden bars, bricks walls with an ivy cutout patrons quickly clicking away on laptops sipping lattes — U.S. Sen. Bob Casey took a look around and humbly digressed.
“This place is way too cool for me,” said Democrat Casey, the senior United States senator from Pennsylvania.
“She knows all the hip places,” he said, gesturing to his press secretary, Jacklin Rhodes.
When asked how he likes his coffee, Rhodes laughed — “He’s very easy to work for.”
Casey likes his coffee with cream and sugar, venti, to go. He is optimistic for the Eagles under a new coach and a rookie quarterback, although questioned their receiving corps. He is a
fan of history — he said he found many parallels in this year’s presidential election to the writings of Hunter S. Thompson in 1972’s “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail,” a zany look at the campaign of Democrat George McGovern and his spectacular loss to Richard
Casey is the son of a former governor, Robert P. Casey. He says callers still confuse him with his dad despite his death 16 years ago. He was molded into politics from a young age. Serving as Pennsylvania auditor general and state treasurer, Casey lost to former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell in the 2002 Democratic gubernatorial primary, but that did not slow down his
He was quick to react to a comment, “Hey, at least you don’t have to worry about running in the circus this year.”
“The day after election day,” he said. “I have to start campaigning for my own re-election.”
First elected to the Senate in 2006, Casey defeated incumbent Republican Rick Santorum, who had served two terms. Casey
entered a class of senators in which many were in the throes of running for the nomination for president in 2008 — among them former Sen. Hillary Clinton, former Sen. William Dodd, former Sen. Russ Feingold, Secretary of State John Kerry, Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. John McCain and of course, President Barack Obama.
“There was a lot of intensity,” Casey said.
He added that the absentee rate of many of the Senate during that time was very high, as the many politicians vying for the highest seat were off raising money and campaigning.
“It’s a change in life in D.C.,” Casey said. “You’re in Washington from Monday through Thursday and then you leave to go fundraising … the dynamic you’re able to form with other senators is limited and the short amount of time you have together doesn’t help.”
“It has affected governing,” Casey said.
Tom Daschle, the former Senate majority leader, once said that “a senator has to raise $10,000 every day they’re in office – every day of their six years” in order to get re-elected.
“In the House, it’s even worse,” Casey said. “You only have two year terms and you’re in the call rooms that much more.”
Those call rooms were detailed comedian John Oliver’s expose on Last Week Tonight regarding campaign funding, where those rooms were categorized as smelly back rooms in the Democratic National Headquarters with cubicles and headsets with “minders that make sure they don’t take too long on each call.”
“We should have a system where we shouldn’t have to spend that much time raising funds,” Casey said.
Casey won re-election in 2012 over Republican challenger Tom Smith, who outraised Casey in funds but ultimately lost the race.
“That was one of the few times an incumbent candidate was outraised,” Casey said.
Smith brought in over $21 million in campaign funds, while Casey raised just over $14 million, which was about $4 million less than he brought in for his 2006 campaign.
Now the senior U.S. senator in Pennsylvania, ahead of Republican Pat Toomey, who won in 2010 and claimed his first re-election bid on Tuesday, Casey must start on the 2018 race. He takes solace in the fact that voters, especially the young people who have inundated with data in this election, are more involved than ever.
“Your voting record is so much more available now,” Casey said. “Growing up you would have to get the newspaper at the end of the week and you’d read how your legislators voted, but it didn’t have a lot of background.”
“Now with the polls and strategies, you can view the issues rather than just the background,” he said.
Before leaving the coffee shop, he expressed that regardless of the winner on Tuesday — this was before the election had taken place — he was hopeful that the candidates would find a way to work across the aisle.
“I just hope they find a willingness to work with the other party,” he said.
U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., visted Haverford last week, enjoying a cup of coffee and conversation in Green Engine Coffee Co.