Politics

As DNC Kicks Off in Philadelphia, Some Dems Worry About Rest of State

Pennsylvania considered a tossup in several projections

An anti-fracking demonstrator riding atop the "Bus for Progress" sports a Sen. Bernie Sanders doll near City Hall in Philadelphia on the eve of the Democratic National Convention on Sunday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats might have temporarily bumped up the population of Pennsylvania as they stream in for the convention today, but some party strategists and political analysts aren't certain how the state will lean in November.  

"This time, it's not going to be easy," former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, the chair of the convention host committee and a longtime supporter of presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review  on Sunday. “There are a lot of people who feel left out of the process, and we have to reconnect with them and let them know we are on their side.”  

Although Democrats have won Pennsylvania in every presidential election since 1992, the state has been considered a swing state since the 1950s . This election season, with blue-collar white voters in rural regions considered likely to be open to Republican nominee Donald Trump's populist message, the Democratic grip on the state is considered weaker than it has been in years. In the walkup to the convention, several forecasts — including those at NBC News and NPR — have shifted the state from leaning Democratic to a tossup.

"For the first time in a long time I can see this remaining a tight race,” G. Terry Madonna, a political scientist at Franklin & Marshall College, told the Tribune-Review.
 
Clinton's campaign strategists said they were certain that Pennsylvania voters would side with their candidate over Trump.
 
"He's not going to win this state," campaign manager Robby Mook told the newspaper.
 
But the campaign's plans belie such confident projections. As soon as the convention is over, Clinton is scheduled to start a bus tour across the state with running mate Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine. And multiple return visits by the two along with surrogates like Clinton's husband former President Bill Clinton are also planned, Mook said. 
 
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