The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is putting money into the increasingly tight Pennsylvania Senate race to help Republican Tom Smith.
The NRSC is spending $500,000 in coordinated funding to help Smith increase the size of his ad buys, especially in the western part of the state.
CNN first reported the news, and an NRSC official confirmed it to The Daily Caller.
News of the buy comes the same day that a Rasmussen poll found Smith and Democratic Sen. Bob Casey neck-and-neck, with Casey up by just one point, 46 percent to 45 percent.
The competitiveness of the race is surprising; Casey was initially expected to coast to re-election. But two other polls in the past two weeks have shown the split in single digits. A Quinnipiac poll from two weeks ago has Smith down by only three points.
“Bob Casey’s re-election campaign has been as underwhelming and ineffective as his last six years in the Senate,” an NRSC official said. “This has become a very competitive race and we want to help ensure Tom Smith has the resources to get his message out and win in November.”
Democrats, however, say they are unconcerned.
“Tom Smith and his friends are flooding the airwaves with attack ads as Tom Smith ducks questions on his radical platform of raising taxes on the middle class and ending Medicare in order to pay for more tax cuts for millionaires like himself,” said Casey spokesman Mark Nicastre.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) dismissed Smith’s candidacy.
“Tom Smith is a radical tea partier in the mold of Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock,” DSCC Communications Director Matt Canter said. “He compared a woman being impregnated by rape to a woman having a child out of wedlock. He has no business representing Pennsylvanians in the U.S. Senate, and the voters of the state know it.”
Canter was referring to an incident in August when Smith seemed to equate having a pregnancy out of wedlock with a woman becoming pregnant as result of a rape. A campaign spokesman later clarified that he was not equating the two, acknowledging that his use of language had been “less than artful.
The DSCC released an internal poll Friday afternoon following news of the NRSC getting into the race that showed Casey leading Smith by 12 percentage points, 52 percent to 40 percent. The poll was conducted earlier this week.