Casey Claims Third Term In US Senate
Bob Casey and Lou Barletta each carried his home county in Tuesday’s election for U.S. Senate.
Only one carried the day, though.
Casey, the incumbent Democrat from Scranton, piled up big numbers statewide to claim his third term in the Senate with a decisive victory over the Republican Barletta, the fourth-term U.S. representative from Hazleton.
“Six more years! Six more years!” Casey’s supporters chanted as the victorious candidate took the stage at the Scranton Cultural Center, surrounded by family, including his wife and four daughters.
“I am especially honored to come before you tonight,” Casey, 58, said. “I just want to share a few thoughts of what I think this night means. First of all, I want to thank the people of Pennsylvania for their support ... and their confidence in me but also for the privilege — the privilege — of serving them in the United States Senate and to give me another term in that office.”
Casey said he had a very gracious phone call with Barletta.
“I’m so grateful for that phone call. In this difficult time for our nation, to have a phone call like that between two people running against each other was something I guess we don’t see enough of in American politics,” he said.
Barletta, 62, conceded around 10 p.m., congratulating Casey on what he called the senator’s “well-fought victory” as he addressed his supporters at the Pines restaurant in Hazleton.
Barletta said he had good conversation with Casey and hopes the Democrat has good days ahead and can work with Republican President Donald Trump.
“Let’s come together tonight,” Barletta said. “We’re going to come together as a state. Senator Casey is going to represent us well.”
The Republican thanked the president for his support and friendship and thanked the voters who believed in him.
“What a great campaign we ran,” Barletta said. “I can still look myself in the mirror.”
Earlier, at the Cultural Center, as Casey’s supporters waited amid tables adorned with red, white and blue balloons for the senator to appear, CNN announced it was calling the race for the Democrat, and the crowd erupted in applause and excited shouts.
When statewide returns hit 20 percent, people started to move toward the ballroom stage. American rock classics like Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty and Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” played as results rolled in.
“Can I get a Bob Casey on one, two, three?” the emcee urged the crowd.
“Bob Casey!” his supporters roared back.
The race was the first major statewide contest pitting two high-profile political figures from Northeast Pennsylvania against each other since the senator’s late father, Robert P. Casey Sr., defeated Lt. Gov. William W. Scranton III in 1986 to win the first of his two terms as governor.
Each candidate managed to defend his home turf.
Casey easily won his native Lackawanna County, though he did not quite match the overwhelming margins he racked up during his Senate elections in 2006 and 2012.
With all of the county’s 163 precints reporting, Casey had 61 percent of the vote to 38 percent for Barletta, according to unofficial results.
Libertarian Dale Kerns, of Ridley Twp., Delaware County, and Green Party candidate Neal Taylor Gale, of Abington Twp., Montgomery County, finished a far distant third and fourth, respectively, and accounted for the other 1 percent.
In 2006, when Casey captured 59 percent of the vote statewide to knock off Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, the Democrat received 69 percent of the votes cast in Lackawanna County.
Casey’s support in the county slipped to 67 percent in 2012 when he defeated Western Pennsylvania mining magnate Tom Smith by 9 percentage points statewide to win his second term.
In Luzerne County, where Barletta made a national name for himself by crusading against illegal immigration as the mayor of Hazleton, the Republican held a 54 percent to 45 percent edge over Casey with all of the county’s 180 precincts reporting.
Casey won Luzerne County in his two previous Senate elections, capturing 61 percent of the vote in 2006 and 55 percent six years later.