Mike Pence Senate Campaign Tour Touches Down in Philadelphia

VP uses tax law event to stump for Senate hopeful Lou Barletta

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., left, Sen. Berrnie Sanders, I-Vt., center and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence on Monday tried to fire up Pennsylvania Republicans by comparing Democratic Sen. Bob Casey to one of the most liberal members of the Senate, Bernie Sanders.

Pence flew to the Keystone State for a speech in Philadelphia — followed by a fundraiser for Rep. Lou Barletta — that ostensibly was on the Republican tax law, but at times was a GOP pep rally and others a campaign stop on behalf of Barletta. The 11th District congressman is challenging Casey for his Senate seat.

[Campus Conundrum: For Professors, Trump Requires ‘Constant Adaptation’]

The VP told a friendly audience they are “blessed to have” Barletta in Congress, referring to him as a “a strong conservative leader.”

“The president and I love Lou,” Pence declared.

He recalled when Casey first ran for his Senate seat more than a decade ago, saying “he was supposed to be a moderate.” He then offered a preview of an attack line likely to be repeated as Pence weighs in on competitive races across the country.

[White House Furthers Trump Threat to Iran]

“He was supposed to be a moderate,” Pence said. “He votes more like Bernie Sanders than Pennsylvania.”

Pence then ticked a list of GOP agenda items, from the tax measure to nixing Obama-era regulations, and said Casey voted no “again and again.” And as Pence has done while standing in states with more vulnerable Democratic incumbents, Pence pressed Casey to vote in favor of President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzales forecasts the race, with four months to go, as “Likely Democratic.” A RealClearPolitics average of several polls gives Casey a 16-point lead.

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.