U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. had been taking more and more heat about his lackluster campaign for a second term against former coal company owner Tom Smith of Armstrong County. Former Gov. Ed Rendell piled on Thursday.
In an interview with the Scranton Times Tribune, Rendell said Casey is running a "non-campaign" focused on a "stupid" ad that links Smith to a Tea Party group he started. Rendell did predict that Casey would prevail in the race.
Casey on Thursday brushed off the criticism, calling Rendell "enormously helpful" in the campaign so far, including fund-raising. Smith has invested in his campaign $16.5 million from the fortune he made in selling his coal company. He has been using that money to out-spend Casey on television campaign commercials.
“Look, you’re going to have a lot of comments on strategy," Casey said of Rendell. "I expect that. He’s not only been a really good supporter for me over a long period of time, but he’s also been a good friend. So we’re on the same team.”
Asked if he should have been more active on the campaign trail, Casey lamented the time he has had to devote to raising money to stay competitive.
“I would much rather have a more traditional campaign, where you can spend time talking directly to voters than a lot of candidates do today," Casey said. "Unfortunately in a big state like this it’s very difficult.”