The Romney/Ryan campaign and the Republican National Committee have moved 60 staffers into Pennsylvania, according to Sam Stein of the Huffington Post, the latest sign that the Republican Party sees the Keystone State as competitive.
Recent polls showed the GOP ticket closing the gap with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, with one poll suggesting Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) could be slightly ahead.
Ryan appeared briefly at a campaign stop in western Pennsylvania yesterday at a rally that was organized at the last minute but still attracted 800 supporters.
The campaign is hopeful, according to the Washington Post, that it can win the state because so many of its voters actually go to the polls on Election Day, rather than voting early, meaning that a late rush in the polls would be more likely to translate into real votes in the ballot box.
As the Romney/Ryan ticket maintains its lead in national polls, and expands a narrow lead in battleground states, more “blue” states are coming into play. Pennsylvania may soon be joined by Michigan and Minnesota, where the incumbents still have a lead but a shrinking one.
The election is now being fought entirely on turf that Obama/Biden won in 2008; the Democrats have all but given up taking away states won by McCain/Palin.
The new effort by Republicans may also be aimed at pushing U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith over the top against incumbent Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), who defeated Rick Santorum in 2006.
With Missouri’s Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) poised to win re-election against Rep. Todd Akin what was once thought to be a sure pickup for the GOP, the Republicans’ Senate hopes rest on being able to offset the loss.
Smith has been catching up to Casey in the polls.