Bucks County is a keystone county in the "keystone state." Democrats don't win PA races if they don't win Bucks county. It's that simple. Pennacchio is on the upswing, trending up, while Casey is, as he has done historically, trending down, even crashing. And this is the second major county, after Lancaster, to reject endorsement of Casey and go with an open primary.
Actually, in Bucks county, the Pennacchio campaign asked for an open primary, which the County leadership refused. The open primary outcome came about not by intention.
The county is a heterogenous mix of suburban townships, rural agrarian areas, small towns and dense developments, abutting Philadelphia. In a way, it's a fair represenation of the state. There are more registered Republicans than Democrats, but there are a lot of Independents.
This endorsement meeting outcome is good news for Democrats who want to see Santorum defeated. An open primary without the input of stale Democratic party hacks who have picked losers in every normal senate election for the past 40 years is a very healthy thing. It's bad news to compromising people who call themselves progressives, who are holding their noses and supporting Casey in the primary, out of fear or by deluding themselves that Casey's name recognition will do more for him than it did for him when he ran against and lost to Rendell.
Note that Casey LOST this effort to win the endorsement even though he has raised millions of dollars compared to Pennacchio. All of the cynics who say that money raised is the way to gauge a candidate's potential to win should be eating crow at this point, though they'll probably keep up their mantra that it's all about money.
Consider this. If Casey wins, it will have been with huge PAC contributions and major fundraising by out of state rich people. If he wins, you should support him.
But if Pennacchio wins, it will have been accomplished with a tiny fraction of the the money Casey or the other candidate, Alan Sandals spent. If Pennacchio wins, he will be on the front page of every newspaper and magazine in the country. And he will have won with minimal money. It will be a win produced by a massive grassroots support network that is already in place to beat Santorum. It will be a win that will have enormous momentum that will bring in contributions and volunteers from progressives all over the US. This just won't happen with Casey. Sorry. He'll get his big bucks contributions from rich out of staters but he doesn't have anywhere near the grassroots base that Pennacchio has built. Bottom line-- vote for Pennacchio, because his values and stand on issues are much closer to yours. If he loses, you can hold your nose and vote for Casey. But if Pennacchio wins, he will have earned it the hard way and he'll have proven that he's the tougher campaigner and the better candidate.
This article was originally posted as a diary on Daily kos, here.
I expect the same crew of Casey barkers to challenge this newest benchmark by Chuck Pennacchhio. But what we have here, bottom line, is a loss by Casey-- a failure to win even 50% of the Democrats' support. I'm looking forward to sseeing how those regulars, who attack anything supporting Pennacchio, will spin this loss. It's not an internet poll, which Casey has not seemed to be able to win. It's not a scientific Zogby poll, which they have pathetically tried to malign. It's a real vote by democratic party regulars, who tend to toe the party line. And don't try to say that Bucks is some liberal bastion. It ain't so, at least no more than the rest of the state. So... spin away, you fake progressives. And for those who have been undecided, or limply supporting Pennacchio-- now's the time to start sending his campaign contributions. chuck2006.com
And a last thought. Chuck will go to the senate as a strong progressive, independent LEADER who you will be proud to have representing you. You'll be able to trust him to vote the right way on the issues. Can you say the same about Casey?