Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Romney in PA -- Or No?

Is the Romney campaign competing in PA or not? It seems Ohio is more important, but GOPers say the Keystone State remains in play.

Romney in PA -- Or No?

Conflicting press releases from Democrats and Republicans (a real rarity there, eh?) suggest that Mitt Romney's campaign is either folding in Pennsylvania or getting ready to double-down.

Tuesday morning, the state GOP issued a statement, "Romney Seizes Momentum in PA," that cites new polling numbers showing President Obama with a slim 3-point lead and points to a National Journal piece asking if Pennsylvania is "the newest battleground state."

Within an hour of that statement, Pennsylvania Democrats issued a statement, "Romney closing shop in PA," that cites reports that some of the Republican contender's forces are being moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio.

Meanwhile, veteran political journalist Jim O'Toole of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that two new polls show Romney close to Obama here but notes that neither campaign is currently airing ads in Pennsylvania (what you're seeing are national ads) while Ohio markets such as Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus and Cincinnati were among the campaigns' top 15 ad-buy areas for the month of September.

The Wesbite realclearpolitics.com still has Pennsylvania "leaning Obama" while Ohio is listed as a toss-up state.

But if the post-debate polling swings here, in other states and nationally teach us anything it is that the race is more volatile that many believed, which suggests there's still time for movement on both sides.

Pennsylvania, structurally, remains a tough get for Romney; and the state's history of going blue in every presidential election since 1988 might well be repeated.

But the tightening of the contest here following Mitt's mauling of Obama in the first debate is clear evidence of how fast a fall can happen anywhere -- whether one candidate is really in any state or not.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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