PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Meet Steve Welch, the latest Republican who wants to take on incumbent Democratic Senator Bob Casey next year.
“I’m confident Bob Casey is going to lose, I will tell you that,” Welch told KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano. “I think he just hasn’t done enough for the state and his votes have been bad and have been damaging to our economy.”
Welch is a 35-year-old businessman from Chester County, just outside Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife and three young children.
He faults Casey for his close ties to President Obama.
“He’s a carbon copy of Barack Obama. He’s voted with him 98 percent of the time. That’s really hard to do.”
Welch, an entrepreneur who made lots of money starting a bio-tech company he later sold, sees himself as the business candidate.
“I think Bob Casey, I think Barack Obama, these are good people, they just don’t have a frame of reference,” he said. “They’ve never been in business. They’ve never started something from scratch. Their frame of reference is government and because of that they see all of their solutions as government.”
“As somebody who has been in private industry that has built things from the ground up, I see the solutions as the American people, I see solutions as entrepreneurs who have new ideas and want to get those going.”
A lifelong Republican, Welch admits he switched parties for a short time, voting for Joe Sestak for Congress in 2006 and even Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary.
Welch says he was frustrated with the Republican Party during the Bush years.
“Republicans out there weren’t happy with what was happening in Washington. They weren’t happy and they wanted to see a change. Now some of them handled that very differently, but people understand we were going the wrong way as a party.”
He says he voted for Republican John McCain over Obama in the 2008 general election, and soon returned to his Republican roots.
And he’s optimistic this area will support him.
“Western Pennsylvania is absolutely critical to our campaign. That’s why we are spending so much time out here.”