Senate candidate Tom Smith, a former Democrat, is an accomplished businessman and a Tea Party conservative. Tom still lives on the farm in Armstrong County where he grew up. After high school, he postponed college to help his father tend that farm and supplemented his income by driving a school bus. After a few years, Tom married his high school sweetheart, Saundy, started a family, and went to work in a local surface coal mine.
In 1989, Tom entered the coal business himself. He succeeded, building a series of companies in a highly regulated industry. When he sold the companies in 2010, they were mining more than a million tons of coal each year.
Now, Tom wants to re-claim for Republicans the seat Sen. Bob Casey took from Rick Santorum in 2006. Follow him on Twitter @TomSmithforPA.
Matt Naugle: You were a registered Democrat from age 18 until August 2011. As a Democrat, you were elected official Plumcreek Township and were a member of the United Mine Workers. Now, you’re a major donor to Republican candidates and a Tea Party leader. How did you become a conservative?
Tom Smith: I’ve always been a conservative and supported pro-growth and pro-freedom candidates and causes. My father and mother were registered Democrats, so when I was 18 I registered the same out of respect for them. It was over the years, while building a family and starting a business I became more and more vocal with my conservative views.
MN: You went from working on your father’s farm and driving a bus to running a 100,000 tons/month coal mining operation. Do you agree with President Obama that you did not build the company?
Despite Obama’s nearly 5-point advantage in Pennsylvania, which a Republican hasn’t won since 1988, Mitt Romney’s campaign has purchased ad time in the state, hoping to pick its 20 electoral votes off on Tuesday:
Mitt Romney will soon run campaign advertisements on Pennsylvania television, a Republican source told CNN on Tuesday. The Romney campaign later released an energy-themed ad which specifically mentions Pennsylvania. Romney’s campaign plans to go up next week in Philadelphia on Monday and Tuesday - Election Day, the source said, adding that the buy could be expanded.
The Philadelphia suburbs are key counties and could determine who wins the state. They are home to middle-income and affluent voters who are conservative on fiscal issues but liberal on social issues, including abortion and gun control.
The ad, which can be viewed below, opens with footage from 2008 of then-candidate Obama explaining his views on coal, which is a big industry in Pennsylvania. Obama said, “If someboday wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them.” A narrator explains that Obama “kept that promise, and Pennsylvania coal paid the price,” as graphic flashes on the screen noting that 22 coal plants in the state will either close or be forced to convert.
The ad then turns to debate footage featuring Romney and Obama, who is looking down, as the Republican nominee explains that “people in the coal industry feel like its getting crushed by your policies”:
Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown has been a busy statist.
First, he attacked his Republican opponent, Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel for promoting his Tea Party credentials.
What was Josh’s sin? It certainly wasn’t a lack of conservatism. Mandel, a rising conservative leader, is Endorsed by FreedomWorks and the Club for Growth. Josh once represented a portion of Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s district in the Ohio House of Representatives while standing firmly to the right of the Republican caucus.
Josh’s fault was noting in a television ad an endorsement from a dubious conservative group. Brown’s crack team of communications wizards must have spent hours digging through Archive.org’s snapshots of my now-defunct Ohio blog before sending my 2010 commentary to the Talking Points Memo.
Then, Team Brown attacked Mandel for dropping his vowels and sounding “southern” at a Romney rally.
While I’m flattered by the attention brought to MY TWO YEAR OLD BLOG POST during a competitive U.S. Senate race, it is sad to watch an incumbent Senator be so desperate. After spending his entire adult life in elected office, Sherrod must have serious issues to discuss, right?
Wrong! As the Senate’s most liberal member, Sherrod knows his rigid ideology and environmental radicalism put him so far out of Ohio’s mainstream, voters would toss him out of office if they find out the truth.
While Barack Obama says that his administration is concerned about rising energy costs and has an “all of the above” energy plan, the Environmental Protection Agency has imposed new carbon emissions regulations new coal plants:
The Environmental Protection Agency will issue the first limits on greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants as early as Tuesday, according to several people briefed on the proposal. The move could end the construction of conventional coal-fired facilities in the United States.
The proposed rule — years in the making and approved by the White House after months of review — will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits 800 to 850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.
Industry officials and environmentalists said in interviews that the rule, which comes on the heels of tough new requirements that the Obama administration imposed on mercury emissions and cross-state pollution from utilities within the past year, dooms any proposal to build a coal-fired plant that does not have costly carbon controls.