Building upon Prof. CBMurray’s post, Philly’s bellwether suburban
Rendell lost the 1986 Democratic gubernatorial primary to Casey’s father, the late Robert Casey, Sr., but defeated Casey, Jr. for the same nod in 2002. (ElectionDissection.com would be remiss if we failed to note that a Clinton-Casey clan rivalry dates back to 1992 when nominee Bill Clinton refused a Democratic convention speaking slot to Casey, Sr. to air his anti-abortion views, despite a long history of both families sharing the services of consultants Paul Begala and James Carville.) Rendell won that contest by racking up huge majorities in the affluent, socially liberal suburban counties that ring his Philly base. Rendell beat Casey, Jr. by 13 points, but won only 11 of the Keystone State’s 67 counties.
Casey, Jr. even mustered over 20% in the city of Philadelphia, where pro-union, pro-life urban ethnic Catholic Democrats are not yet extinct. But in
Despite Rendell’s indefatigable barnstorming for HRC this year, given Obama’s strength among college educated, affluent social liberals this primary season, the post-primary map is likely to resemble that 2002 Rendell-Casey, Jr. map, but with Casey-endorsed Obama winning Rendell territory and HRC romping away in Casey Country: Pittsburgh, Coal Country and Appalachian “Pennsyltucky,” her traditional down-scale, union-heavy base this cycle.
And after voting for him in ’94 and 2000 (against pro-life Pittsburgh-area fmr. U.S. Rep. Ron Klink), Montgomery County lost patience with trade-bashing, gay-baiting Sen. Rick Santorum, favoring none other than Bob Casey, Jr. against him, 62-38%, surpassing Casey’s statewide margin.
This evolving partisanship is marked by stunning shifts in party registration totals, which might give Obama a fighting chance to pull off an upset. ElectionDissection.com advisor Bill Boyle pointed us to this graphic, illustrating the steep drop-off in those suburban Philly counties in Republican and independent registrations coupled by even sharper gains for Democrats. A reporter friend who spent time on the ground in Pennsylvania’s hotly contested 2004 Republican Senate primary recounted how, to narrowly fend off a challenge for renomination from then-U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey, Sen. Arlen Specter scrambled to re-register Philly ‘burb voters who had switched parties to vote for Rendell in ’02, suggesting that the graphic might be even more dramatic had Specter not needed to undertake that effort.
Hillary’s saving grace may be