PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With just 13 weeks until Election Day, both U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and his Republican challenger, U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, are in town.
For Barletta, from Hazleton in the northeastern part of the state, it’s an attempt to get better known.
“It’s really to get to know me, and for me to get to know people around the state,” Barletta told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
Barletta was campaigning at Mario’s Pizzeria in Beaver, a favorite stop for politicians, says Mario, shop owner.
“I welcome everyone here,” he says.
A strong supporter of President Trump, Barletta pressed the flesh, as one supporter said, “Keep making America great again.”
“Exactly right,” Barletta responded. “We don’t want to go backwards.”
The GOP sees this Trump region as fertile territory.
They’re calling it the “Red, White and Lou Tour” with a bus going all over Pennsylvania with Barletta, who’s bringing his dog, Reilly, with him, too.
Unlike his owner, Reilly, was not campaigning and preferred to stay in the shade.
Across town in Squirrel Hill, Casey met with health care experts to denounce Republican efforts to repeal protection for those with pre-existing conditions now guaranteed in the Affordable Care Act.
“We have a group of right wing attorneys general joined by this administration that want to rip away the protections for pre-existing conditions,” noted Casey. “That’s an insult. It’s an abomination, and we should fight it with everything we have.”
With 5.3 million Pennsylvanians with pre-existing conditions, Casey singled out Barletta’s support for repealing Obamacare as a key issue.
“With that repeal, those protections go away,” said Casey.
Delano: “Yes or no, do you believe that all insurance companies should provide protection for people with pre-existing conditions?”
Barletta: “Yes, I do. I don’t believe anyone with pre-existing conditions should be left out.”
Barletta supports repealing Obamacare, but opposes any efforts to repeal its protections, a contradiction, says Casey, he’s likely to highlight.
With Republicans controlling the U.S. Senate 51 to 49, Democrats have no chance of taking control of that body unless Democrats like Casey win reelection.
Both sides know that.