MEET TOM SMITH.
That’s a line in a biographical campaign TV ad that Smith, the Republican nominee to challenge U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. in the Nov. 6 general election, is running on broadcast TV in the Philadelphia region from Thursday to Monday.
Smith, who turned a lot of heads in the Republican primary by investing just shy of $5 million into his campaign and dominating the commercial war, still has a lot of people to meet in the state.
A Daily News/Franklin Marshall College Poll on Thursday showed that 68 percent of registered voters in Pennsylvania don’t know who he is. Casey leads Smith 35-23 percent with 39 percent undecided, according to the poll.
Smith has been running ads on cable television across the state. He hopes the big-broadcast splash – $183,600 to run 168 spots on 6ABC, NBC 10, CBS 3 and Fox 29 – gets people talking about him in the state’s largest media market.
The ad, called “Big Dreams,” starts off with a shot at “Bob Casey’s failed record” on unemployment. Smith, who made his money running a coal company in western Pennsylvania’s Armstrong County, describes his life as the American dream.
“At 40 he was a union coal miner with big dreams, so he mortgaged his family farm to start his own energy company, creating hundreds of jobs so others could realize the American dream,” the ad’s narrator explains.
Not noted: The coal mines he later ran were not unionized.
So Smith, who often touts his role in starting a tea-party group, is playing up his union history here in the big city.
Smith appeared Thursday morning on “The Big Talker,” WPHT-AM, to discuss his local ad campaign. He had a predictably friendly reception. Fill-in host Larry O’Connor didn’t bring up a couple of items that Smith’s fellow Republicans found interesting in the primary.
Smith was a Democrat for 42 years and served in that party as a township supervisor in the 1970s and as an elected committeeman until 2010.
Smith said last month that “the well is not dry” when asked if he would spend another $5 million on the general election.
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