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11/17/2018 7:46 am  #1

Is Bob Casey Running for President?

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey on reaching rural voters, his goals for the next Congress, and 2020 speculation

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is back on Capitol Hill after handily securing a third term in the Senate — something no other Democratic senator from Pennsylvania has done.

He also became the first Pennsylvania politician to win statewide election six times, having also been elected once as state treasurer and twice as auditor general.

This week Casey talked with The Morning Call about how he secured another six years in the Senate and the policies he hopes to focus on during that time — as well as elaborating on his response to NBC News when the outlet asked if Casey has thought about jumping into the 2020 presidential race.

Reflecting on his 13-point win over Republican Lou Barletta, Casey said the results show that Democrats can build a coalition of support in urban and suburban areas as well as in rural small towns, an approach he views as imperative for the party’s future success.

“Democrats in 2020 can’t just drive by red counties,” Casey said. “You have to stop, get out of your car, ask for people’s votes, and engage with them on issues that relate to their lives.”

The Pennsylvania lawmaker touted his strong numbers in urban and suburban areas, noting that the Philadelphia suburbs and similar communities across the country “will play a huge role” in the next presidential race. The four populous counties surrounding Philadelphia increasingly have trended Democratic. In 2016 Hillary Clinton tallied a 14-point margin there; Casey posted a 25-point margin this year.

While he fell short among the less-populated areas of the state that traditionally have been Republican strongholds, Casey still drew 44 percent of the vote. He also did well among female voters, winning by 2 percentage points among women in small towns and rural areas.

Casey attributed those margins to the message and record he conveyed to voters. He visited each of the 67 counties at least once and most twice, talking with voters about his efforts on addressing the opioid addiction crisis, among other issues.

After his recent electoral success, does Casey have larger political ambitions on his mind? An NBC News reporter asked if the Pennsylvanian was considering joining the lengthy list of Democrats who are mulling a 2020 bid for the presidency.

Casey told the reporter: “We'll see what happens.”

He said after that interview that he has not taken any steps toward exploring a presidential bid, quipping to reporters that “statewide campaigns are challenging enough.” But like most politicians, he didn’t close the door entirely.

“You always want to be open possibilities in the new year,” Casey said.

We live in a time in which decent and otherwise sensible people are surrendering too easily to the hectoring of morons or extremists. 

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