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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — He just won a third term in the U.S. Senate by a landslide, so maybe it’s no surprise that U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is hedging his bets on running for president in 2020.
On Thursday in Washington, D.C., Casey suggested it was a possibility, so on Friday in Pittsburgh, KDKA political editor Jon Delano asked him directly.
Delano: “Are you looking at running for president of the United States?”
Casey: “I wouldn’t say that.”
But the moderate-to-liberal Democrat won’t rule it out either.
“You should never take any option off the table,” said Casey.
That only spurs the speculation.
Delano: “Are you saying then that you’ve not taken off the table the possibility of you running for president?”
Casey: “I would never do that, Jon. You always want to keep everything on the table. It’s an important year. I wish I could say we’re only going to have three or four candidates and make it easy. We’re going to have 15 or 20 or 25.”
Delano: “And why shouldn’t you be one of them?”
Casey: “Because you have to win Pennsylvania, so who would be the strongest candidate that we could nominate to win Pennsylvania? That could be a number of people.”
Delano: “Could that be you?”
Casey: “We’ll see. We’ll see.”
Casey says the Democratic nominee must beat President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania to win the White House, and he thinks Pennsylvanians just sent the president a warning in the mid-term elections.
“It raises real doubts for him, and he and his team should be very concerned,” says the senator.
“When you look at the results in Allegheny County, for example, if he loses Allegheny County by anywhere near the 33 points I won it by,” notes Casey. “If he loses by 30 points, that alone might be enough.”
Casey says on affordable health insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, voters backed the Democrats, sending Trump and the Republicans this message.
“Don’t mess with my healthcare,” he said.
Heading into 2020, Casey says health care plus jobs and fair wages, tax cuts for the middle class, and infrastructure should be priority.
But as to whether he will join the large group of potential Democratic contenders, it’s a simple, “We’ll see. We’ll see.”
So, two years before that election, the senator is not ruling himself out as a presidential candidate.
A little history, his father — the late Gov. Bob Casey — did briefly explore a run for president in 1996.
As big and important as Pennsylvania is, the state can claim only one president — James Buchanan elected in 1856.
In contrast, Ohio can claim eight presidents and New York seven.
As for when Casey might make a definitive statement on whether he’s running or not, he dodged that question a bit, too.