PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania is a key state in the battle for the U.S. Senate. Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, is the leading metro area in Pennsylvania with Northeast Philadelphia the key area in terms of Philadelphia Politics, which is where I live. Recently, Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Joe Sestak (D-PA), the Senatorial candidates for the 2010 midterm elections, have realized that the key to the Senatorial races this year may hang on this area and another, Norristown-where I lived for 10 years before I moved here. For me, the 2010 Senatorial election has come home.
More specifically, the Philadelphia suburbs are the increasing focus of the battle between Mr. Toomey and Mr. Sestak, both of which are raging war for the U.S. Senate seat in PA. Norristown sits in the heart of Montgomery County and Northeast Philadelphia is the middle-class heart of Philadelphia. This means that the issues that these candidates must win on are the ones that prevail in these areas, so let me tell you what counts in these areas.
First, this is a very “small business oriented” area, so jobs and healthcare are consistently big issues with a considerable amount of pain on both fronts-facts to which I can attest personally. More importantly, the race is not, I repeat not decided-yet. While Toomey claims a lead, and some polls support the claims, his lead is slipping and most analysts agree that an awakening of the Democratic voter base could decisively swing the election when it finally comes down to election day.
A lot of numbers are flying around attempting to swing the vote ahead of the election. Mail in voting could account for 10 percent of this year’s total vote in some areas and those votes are already starting to come in. However, in these last couple of weeks before the election, the real battle will have to be on the issues. While I would like to believe that the hard-working middle-class and small business population are perceptive enough to interpret the candidates on their respective stances on the core issues, in talking with my neighbors and business owners, it is difficult to tell exactly where they stand.
It may not be as easy to pass off the message of “lower taxes!” and “less government” that republican candidates have leaned on for decades, the reason is because to these voters, the ability to hire more workers means more business. Uncertainty in the business-lending sector is holding them back. This means that there is a sour feeling about Wall Street in addition to the current administration and its track record.
The Ultimate Benefit?
Healthcare reform, given enough time, will ultimately benefit all. Nevertheless, for now, many small business owners struggling to survive are forced to drop healthcare offerings to employees, which further limit the ability for those small businesses to grow. This situation has soured many small business minds when it comes to voting people into Washington D.C. Where does the voting go when both Republican and Democrat are less than desirable to the core voters who get the candidates elected?
The only realistic verdict is that the candidate that the voters like the most and trust the most will weigh heavily in their final decision. This is a race to the wire and my future is at stake, as is my continued housing, any hope of having healthcare and my career. My neighbors and I are apparently going to be the deciding voting block, and with that said, this election has become very personal to me-and I am still undecided.
Ivy DeJesus,” Pennsylvania’s US Senate Race Could Hinge on Philadelphia’s Suburbs,” PennLive