As Romney Gets Ready for PA Visit, Pattern Shows Republicans Are Losers Here
After rumors circulated about Mitt Romney coming into Pennsylvania this weekend, we can finally confirm: He will be in Yardley on Sunday. On a farm. That is all.
According to news reports and analysts over the past few days, Romney’s trip and accompanying commercial carpet-bombing may just be a strategic fake-out. (They spend here, Obama moves resources of out Ohio and into the commonwealth.) Or it might be a desperation move. (Romney slowly sees himself losing Ohio, which it’s generally agreed upon he needs to win, and then is all, “Well, maybe Pennsylvania could happen; after all, it’s a place, too.”) Or it’s a farewell tour. (Goodbye cruel world! You haven’t seen the last of me!) Or, I don’t know…something about polls’ margins of error?
Either way, the Pennsylvania move is a bit odd. Both campaigns wrote off Pennsylvania as a done deal earlier this summer. Even the super PACs moved out as U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith shook his fist at the clouds.
President Obama will not be joining Mitt in other parts of the state (although Jill Biden will be making an appearance in Philly and the burbs this weekend), and the Democratic Party is out with an email telling us we should pay no mind to Romney’s Pennsylvania farm rally. After all, they say, it’s “déjà vu all over again.” Republican candidates often find themselves in Pennsylvania the weekend before an election, even though no Republican has won the state since George H.W. Bush in 1988. And we hate to say it (because it may invite more political spam), but they’ve got a point.
Check it out:
McCain Made A Late Play For Pennsylvania In 2008, But Lost The State … By 11 Points. ”Despite a last-minute frenzy for Pennsylvania’s electoral plenty, John McCain failed to switch this traditionally blue state, which awarded its 21 votes to Barack Obama and helped him win the presidency. Polls closed at 8 p.m. and, moments later, based on exit poll data, NBC called the state for Obama. …OBAMA — 55% MCCAIN — 44%” [Baltimore Sun, 11/5/08]
Bush Lost Pennsylvania in 2004, Even After Visiting the State on the Day Before the Election. ”‘If you believe America should fight the war on terror with all our might and lead with unwavering confidence in our ideals, I ask you to come stand with me,’ Bush told supporters on Nov. 1 in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania. …Kerry won Pennsylvania, the second-biggest battleground state, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Oregon and Washington state.” [Bloomberg, 11/3/04]
The Bush Campaign Claimed Momentum and Enthusiasm in Pennsylvania Leading up to the 2000 Election. ”Republicans claim to have more energy, born of a lust to retake the White House after eight years, even while acknowledging that women heavily favor Gore’s positions. Both sides can make credible claims of potential victory. ‘I just think it’s dead even,’ said Leslie Gromis, who heads Bush’s campaign in Pennsylvania. ‘One day Gore is up 1 or 2. One day Bush is up 1 or 2.’ In Montgomery County, Tommy Ryan, political director for the county GOP, said: ‘I believe that Bush is ahead, but not by a very large margin. Montgomery County voters are among the more independent and educated and I think trust matters to Montgomery County voters.’ Ryan measures enthusiasm for Bush in terms of requests for yard signs and bumper stickers, which he said increased substantially after the second presidential debate.” [Chicago Tribune, 10/28/00]
Bush Lost Pennsylvania in 2000. ”Ohio (21 electoral votes) goes to Bush, which is a sweet relief to the Governor’s campaign, sent reeling by Gore’s win in Pennsylvania.” [TIME, 11/7/00]
Bob Dole on Nov. 1, 1996: “Don’t Give Up On Pennsylvania. Things Are Happening Up There.” ”‘I think what it demonstrates is that we’ve had a more aggressive, better organized, grass-roots campaign. It also shows what persistence will do,’ said Tim Mara, spokesman for the Dole-Kemp campaign in Pennsylvania. ‘Our message is finally getting some traction,’ he added. ‘The fight is to the end.’ And Dole, on the campaign trail between Tampa, Fla., and Miami, was buoyed by the trend. In a telephone conversation with Gov. Ridge monitored by campaign reporters, Dole said: ‘Don’t give up Pennsylvania. Things are happening up here.’ The Dole campaign scheduled a stop yesterday for 7 a.m. tomorrow in Philadelphia.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/1/96]
Dole Lost Pennsylvania in 1996. ”Pennsylvania held to a decades-old tradition of going with the winner. Clinton carried the state and its 23 electoral votes with about 52 percent of the vote.” [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/6/96]
George H.W. Bush Campaigned in Pennsylvania on the Day of the Election in 1992. ”Much of the day carried the ring of a valedictory, a sense that — win or lose — this was almost surely Mr. Bush’s last campaign. Throughout, he battled the perception, spread by polls that dominated the weekend’s news, that the race may be slipping from his grasp. Pounding his fist, hatless but oblivious to a cold drizzle at the rally in Pennsylvania, he exhorted the crowd to remember that Tuesday’s election is not a poll, but is ‘up to what the American people think.’” [New York Times, 11/3/92]
Bush Lost Pennsylvania in 1992 by 9 Points. [uselectionatlas.org, accessed 10/30/12]