In Smith's many TV ads, one of his most visible weapons is calling Casey "Senator Zero," a reminder that none of Casey's introduced bills became law during his six years in the U.S. Senate. Casey's campaign argues that Smith doesn't understand how Congress works and that a lawmaker must use the process of negotiation and compromise to get their legislation folded into larger bills.
"It doesn't make a lot of sense when you look at my record in terms of getting results for people," Casey said after an appearance Wednesday at a Cumberland County Democratic Party dinner. "I think on a whole host of fronts I get results, and I think people know that."
A new 60-second Casey campaign ad, for instance, recounts his response to the electrocution of a Pennsylvania-born soldier in a shower in Iraq. As a result, the Defense Department carried out thousands of inspections of electrical wiring and must take other steps going forward to ensure electrical equipment is safer.
Casey also pointed to the high-profile role he took in successfully pressing for a temporary, 2 percentage point cut in the Social Security payroll tax on employees, securing more aid to help laid-off workers get job training and creating a program designed to encourage young pregnant women to keep their babies, not to seek abortions.
Smith made a small fortune in western Pennsylvania's coal industry and is largely self-financing his campaign. So far, he has invested more than $16 million in the campaign.
The differences between the two candidates are stark: Casey has voted to increase taxes on higher earners to reduce the nation's debt and has voted to increase the nation's debt ceiling to avoid a default on repaying money the government has already borrowed and spent. Smith has said he would vote against both.
Casey has tried to counter Smith's attacks in his ads by highlighting Smith's tea party connections—Smith started his own tea party group in Armstrong County and appears often at tea party events—and pointing to Smith's tax proposals as ones that would benefit the rich over the poor. Smith denies that.
"Isn't that just proof positive that he can't defend his voting record?" Smith said Monday night after speaking at a Centre County Republican Party dinner. "Why aren't we talking about what really needs (to be) talked about and that is growing the economy, getting deficit spending under control and this national debt."
The election is Nov. 6.
Smith and Casey are scheduled to tape a debate on Oct. 26 at WPVI's TV studio in Philadelphia. The debate will be broadcast on Oct. 28, and any other television, radio or cable station that wishes to rebroadcast is free to do so.
For the three-month third quarter that ended Sept. 30, Casey reported Monday that he had more than $5 million in his campaign account as of Oct. 1, compared to just more than $7 million for Smith. Aside from tapping his own bank account, Smith raised more than $1.6 million, slightly more than Casey. Smith spent $6.8 million, while Casey spent $2.5 million.
The federal deadline to report was Monday.