As part of its ongoing look at various U.S. Senate races, Tuesday’s CBS Evening News examined the Pennsylvania match-up between Republican Senator Pat Toomey and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty and framed the race as Donald Trump possibly dragging down Toomey while ignoring McGinty’s flaws and past.
Anchor Scott Pelley set the scene regarding the Senate’s balance of power and how “[o]ne Republican seat Democrats have their eye on is in Pennsylvania” before handing off to correspondent Julianna Goldman in this writer’s hometown of Lancaster, PA.
After a soundbite from Toomey speaking to supporters and noting his hopes of stopping a Clinton-led agenda, Goldman reported that “[p]olls here show Clinton with a strong lead over Donald Trump, but Toomey is locked in a tight race against Democrat Katie McGinty.”
Goldman then moved to McGinty and focusing on how “she has seized on Toomey’s unwillingness to say if he will vote for the GOP nominee” and touted a McGinty clip tying Toomey to Trump.
The junior senator from PA admitted that it’s been “a genuine dilemma” for him but, as Goldman explained, “Toomey can't win without his party's base and points to what he'd expect from a Republican President Trump” with changes in health care, Iran, and tax reform.
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“But the Senator also needs to convince some Clinton voters to split the ticket, especially women in areas like the Philadelphia suburbs. A recent Bloomberg poll showed 76 percent were bothered a lot by Trump's crude comments on the Access Hollywood tape and statewide, McGinty is winning white, college-educated women by eight points,” Goldman added.
This all being said, people familiar with the race may notice that Goldman’s compact segment didn’t acknowledge pitfalls facing the Democratic candidate. Along with her briefly having been Democratic Governor Tom Wolf’s chief of staff after finishing last in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary, she served in the Clinton White House and then-Vice President Al Gore.
The biggest footnote for McGinty is arguably her past as a lobbyist. Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney wrote in April about her short stint as an official lobbyist that he pushed back on by noting that she worked on environmental matters as “a corporate government affairs agent” both after being in the Clinton administration and serving as Governor Ed Rendell's Secretary of the Environment.
Seeing as the media has shown minimal interest in the WikiLeaks document dumps compared to allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump, it’s important to link the WikiLeaks story with this Senate race as the Washington Free Beacon’s Bret Scher reported on October 19:
Pennsylvania Democrat Katie McGinty emailed Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta to ask whether he thought she should run for U.S. Senate, according to hacked email released by Wikileaks.
The email, which was first reported by Roll Call, was sent by McGinty during her stint as Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf’s chief of staff, prompting her opponent’s campaign to call into question whether McGinty broke state ethics rules regarding political activity.
The transcript of the segment from the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on October 25 can be found below.
CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
October 25, 2016
6:36 p.m. Eastern
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Battle for Senate]
SCOTT PELLEY: Democrats need a gain of five seats to take the Senate or just four if they win the White House, because a Vice President Kaine would break any 50-50 tie.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: McGinty & Toomey]
One Republican seat Democrats have their eye on is in Pennsylvania, and Julianna Goldman is there.
REPUBLICAN SENATOR PAT TOOMEY (Pa.): I definitely need your help. We've got two weeks to go.
JULIANNA GOLDMAN: Stumping in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, today, Republican Senator Pat Toomey argued he's needed in the Senate to stop the agenda of a president Hillary Clinton.
TOOMEY: I think Pennsylvanians want an independent senator who is going to evaluate policy independently, and as it pertains to Pennsylvania and not just be a blank check for Hillary Clinton.
GOLDMAN: Polls here show Clinton with a strong lead over Donald Trump, but Toomey is locked in a tight race against Democrat Katie McGinty.
KATIE MCGINTY: I do stand with Secretary Clinton because she's focused on standing up for families.
GOLDMAN: She has seized on Toomey’s unwillingness to say if he will vote for the GOP nominee.
MCGINTY: I think Pat Toomey owes it to voters to answer the simple question whether he's voting for Donald Trump or not.
TOOMEY: I find it's a genuine dilemma. Hillary Clinton's completely unacceptable to me but I recognize my party's nominated a candidate who has serious flaws.
GOLDMAN: Toomey can't win without his party's base and points to what he'd expect from a Republican President Trump.
TOOMEY: He'd probably sign a repeal of ObamaCare. He'd probably restore sanctions on Iran. He's probably sign a tax reform, so there's constructive things we could do.
GOLDMAN: But the Senator also needs to convince some Clinton voters to split the ticket, especially women in areas like the Philadelphia suburbs. A recent Bloomberg poll showed 76 percent were bothered a lot by Trump's crude comments on the Access Hollywood tape and statewide, McGinty is winning white, college-educated women by eight points. Both sides say the road to the Senate majority runs through Pennsylvania, and the dollars back that up. Scott, with $113 million spent so far, it's already become the most expensive Senate race ever.
PELLEY: Julianna Goldman on the Senate tonight. Julianna, thanks.