The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 21, 2008

Pennsylvania may decide race

Keystone most important of 4 swing states, top Democrat says

How important is Pennsylvania in this year’s presidential election? So important that Barack Obama’s campaign officials acknowledge his chances of claiming the White House are slim without a Keystone State victory.

The commonwealth tops Pennsylvania Democratic Party spokesman Abe Amoros’ list of the four most important swing states in the race.

“Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Florida,” Amoros said, adding that Pennsylvania, in particular, is a “must-win” for Obama., which determines averages from poll results, gives Obama a slight edge in Pennsylvania.

But John McCain’s campaign is keeping up the heat. The Republican nominee and his running mate, Sarah Palin, stumped at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster earlier this month. Obama and his running mate, Joe Biden, have also been making appearances in the commonwealth.

In the 2004 race, President George Bush visited Pennsylvania 44 times — 20 times more than Democrat John Kerry. Yet Kerry finished with 51 percent of the vote to Bush’s 49, and grabbed Pennsylvania’s 21 electoral votes.

With such a narrow divide between the two major parties, Pennsylvanians can expect plenty of visits from both candidates, political analysts say.

Analyst: Carney vulnerable

While the presidential race garners most of the attention, two contenders for the 10th Congressional District will square off in a heated battle of their own. Incumbent Chris Carney, a Democrat from Dimock, has an uphill battle against challenger Chris Hackett, according to’s Josh Kraushaar.

“Carney is one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents in a year when Dems as a whole will probably do very well,” said Kraushaar, who added that smart money this year is on Democrats snagging more seats in Congress.

But for Carney? His seat is anything but assured, Kraushaar said.

“The Republicans are going to lose seats,” Kraushaar said. “It’s almost impossible for them to pick up seats because of the economy and the national environment. So if they’re going to meet expectations, they’re going to need a seat like this. If they can’t pick up a seat where Bush won more than 60 percent of the votes (in the 10th District) in 2004, they’re in a lot of trouble.”

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