Casey Holds Off Smith for U.S. Senate

Incumbent Democrat holds off challenge from Republican challenger

U.S. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) held off coal executive Tom Smith in his re-election bid, NBC News projected Tuesday night.

Casey beat Smith, a newcomer to statewide politics, in a race that appeared to tighten as both candidates increased TV ads. The expensive race featured attack ads by groups from both parties especially in the final few weeks before Election Day.

Casey was seeking a second, six-year Senate term. He's the son of the late former Gov. Robert P. Casey and a former state auditor general and treasurer. The 52-year-old Scranton resident and ally of organized labor was endorsed by nearly every newspaper editorial board in Pennsylvania.

"The people of Pennsylvania have given me the rare privilege to serve them in three offices -- to serve them as auditor general, state treasurer and a member of the United States Senate and now to be re-elected , that is a great honor to me and I'm grateful for their support," said Casey.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) congratulated his fellow senator on his win. "With the election now behind us, I look forward to working with him and the rest of our state's congressional delegation on the many challenges we face, including addressing our serious fiscal situation and creating the job growth Pennsylvanians deserve."

Smith tapped into the fortune he made in western Pennsylvania's coal mining industry to heavily outspend Casey. The 65-year-old is a tea party favorite who lives on the Armstrong County farm where he grew up.

In conceding, Smith congratulated Casey and thanked his supporters.

"My congratulations tonight goes to Senator Casey," said Smith.  "While we disagree on some things, we both care deeply for this country and believe America's best days are ahead of her... though we fell short tonight, we will continue to advocate for the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and individual liberty."

NBC News also projected that President Barack Obama (D) had held off Republican challenger Mitt Romney in the Keystone State. Pennsylvania carries 19 electoral votes.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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