Election 2018

Bob Casey defeats Trump-backed Lou Barletta to win third term as U.S. senator from Pennsylvania

Casey kept his seat despite strong presidential support for his opponent.

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Democratic incumbent Bob Casey fended off a challenge from Republican Congressman Lou Barletta, winning a third term representing Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate, according to projections by numerous news outlets.

The trouncing comes as little surprise. In the final days before Tuesday’s midterm election, the 58-year-old Casey was polling double digits ahead of his Republican opponent. His victory Tuesday echoes his last reelection bid in 2012, where he defeated GOP hopeful Tom Smith by a 9-point margin.

So what does Casey’s third six-year term bode for Pennsylvanians? Probably more of the same — perhaps with more pushback against the Trump administration. A Scranton native and the son of a former governor, Casey has cultivated a moderate reputation in D.C. with centrist policy views. Casey supports:

  • Affordable Care Act
  • Raising the federal minimum wage
  • Doubling border patrol staffing and implementing 24-hour border surveillance
  • Creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants — so long as they are “law-abiding and learn English
  • Gun control, despite his past support for firearms
  • Pro-life policies, despite his recent support for pro-choice legislation

Derided as ineffectual by his opponents, Casey ran with support from former President Barack Obama and former VP Joe Biden, as well as Democratic party leaders across the state.

Casey gained a cavalcade of new supporters when he made to begin publicly feuding with President Donald Trump in 2016. After inauguration, Casey stepped up his Twitter game, taking every opportunity to repudiate the commander-in-chief online. Suddenly, an otherwise modest senator became super snarky.

The outcome of this race deals a blow to Trump’s political traction in Pennsylvania, which was considered a key swing state during the president’s 2016 ascension.

Barletta and Trump’s politics and personalities have become inseparable — on the campaign trail, the congressman even borrowed the president’s derisive nickname for Casey, “Sleepin’ Bob.” But the presidential stumping failed to generate a red wave to take Barletta all the way.

Want some more? Explore other Election 2018 stories.

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Bob Casey