LITITZ, PA (ASSOCIATED PRESS) — Vice President Mike Pence warned Wednesday that electing Democrats to Congress would undo the accomplishments of a president who just two years ago scored an upset victory in Pennsylvania, where the GOP is expected to lose seats in the House in November’s election.
Pence recounted President Donald Trump’s record on the economy, tax cuts and military spending in rallies for Republican John Chrin in northeastern Pennsylvania and for Republican Reps. Lloyd Smucker and Scott Perry in southcentral Pennsylvania.
Perry and Smucker, he said, have stood by Trump in backing his agenda.
“So it’s a clear choice,” Pence told a crowd of more than 300 in a hangar at Lancaster Airport. “And make no mistake about it, it’s not just a choice in this campaign, it’s a choice between the future of the country. Whether we’re going to have a Congress, a House and a Senate, that will stand with this president to advance the agenda that the people of Pennsylvania voted for two years ago.”
The choice, he said, is “between tax hikes or tax cuts, it’s a choice between jobs or mobs, it’s a choice between resistance and results.”
Control of the U.S. House and Senate are on the line in the Nov. 6 election.
Before the rally, Perry and Smucker hosted Pence at a fundraiser, just days after campaign finance reports showed both were getting outraised by their Democratic challengers in the July-September quarter. Both men attributed that to donations flowing in from out-of-state, particularly New York and San Francisco.
“There are boatloads of money coming in from outside the district, all these districts, right?” Perry said. “Coming in from San Francisco, coming in from New York to our district, and if the vice president wants to come in and help and equalize that, we’re happy to have him.”
Also attending in Lititz was U.S Rep. Lou Barletta, who is challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey’s re-election bid. At the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport with Chrin was Scott Wagner, who is running against Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.
The boundaries of Pennsylvania’s congressional districts are changing after a January court ruling that Republicans unconstitutionally gerrymandered the districts in 2011.
Republicans won 13 of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional seats in three straight elections in a state where Democrats have a registration advantage and won 18 of 24 statewide races during that period. But Republicans now are expected to lose seats around Allentown, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in a state Trump won by less than 1 percentage point in 2016 to become the first Republican presidential candidate to capture Pennsylvania since 1988.
The three-term Perry, with one of the most conservative voting records in Congress, is facing a stiff challenge from Democrat George Scott after his district became less conservative. Chrin is trying to unseat three-term Democratic Rep. Matt Cartwright in a northeastern Pennsylvania district where Trump performed well.
Smucker, a freshman, is being challenged by Democrat Jess King in a heavily Republican district, but nonetheless said he is in a competitive race.
House Republican candidates also may be fighting drag at the top of the ticket. Barletta and Wagner are getting outspent and are trailing in independent polls while receiving little outside help from Republican Party-aligned fundraising committees and super PACs.
Asked about top-of-the-ticket drag, Smucker acknowledged that those races are important but sidestepped the question of whether he is exposed by it.
“You’re always impacted by any other races and who knows how those are going to turn out,” Smucker said in an interview. “But we’re running on a strong agenda and I’m confident we’re going to have the support we need to win this thing.”