Pennsylvania's sleepy Senate race could still play key role

PA-Sen Trump backing GOP candidate in PA primary in hopes of unseating Democratic incumbent in fall

Tuesday's primary will narrow GOP gubernatorial, Senate fields

Voters in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Oregon and Idaho head to the polls today to cast primary ballots in congressional and gubernatorial races.

Barletta defeated state Rep. Jim Christiana in the Republican primary on Tuesday, earning a general election race against Pennsylvania's senior senator.

That's not exactly a huge margin for Barletta, a longtime congressman who had the explicit endorsement of the President - and who spent almost $2 million on the race to just $250,000 for Christiana. Lamb, who's operating within the new 17th District, has no Democratic main opponent and can meet Republican U.S. Rep Keith Rothfus, who at present represents the outdated 12th District, in November. These results are unlikely to calm their nerves.

Barletta accused Casey of moving too "far left", and not being in line with the will of Pennsylvanians who support Trump's agenda.

This race could help determine whether republicans maintain control of the chamber. Barletta, a staunch President Donald Trump supporter, captured the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Linda, a realtor whose husband runs the local newspaper, said the economy and health care are the biggest issues to her because she's retiring in a few years and has 13 grandchildren.

Mr. Casey, the first Democrat to win re-election to the Senate from Pennsylvania since 1962, ran unopposed in the primary.

"He has resisted, rejected and obstructed every single thing that Donald Trump has done", Barletta told a Lancaster County Republican Party dinner crowd Thursday night.

Casey campaign manager M.E. Smith released a statement on Barletta's nomination saying the race will be a contest "between a candidate who fights for working families and a candidate who fights for the corporate interests that stack the deck against them". "If you, like all of the others, want to keep it going this way, go out and vote for Lou".

Casey, the son of a late former governor, has strong name recognition and has won five statewide elections.

Barletta won his House seat during the Republican midterm wave of 2010, catapulted by the attention he received while mayor of the small city of Hazleton for cracking down on immigrants in the country illegally. Casey also has midterm political winds at his back: the party of the president almost always loses seats in Congress in midterm elections.

The GOP holds a razor-thin 51-to-49 advantage, but leaders are increasingly bullish about adding to their majority as Trump's approval ratings have ticked up. But strategists in both parties believe Casey, who has stockpiled almost $10 million for the campaign, has the advantage.

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