The Washington Times - September 9, 2011, 03:39PM

Lynn Swann, former Pittsburgh Steeler and ‘06 GOP candidate for Pennsylvania governor should take on Senator Bob Casey Jr., Pennsylvania Democrat, in 2012 and make the race more than competitive, if he so chooses. 

Former Senator Rick Santorum, whose days are now filled campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination, gave me his thoughts of a possible Lynn Swann candidacy going up against Senator Casey.

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“We’re looking for a strong candidate to run against Senator Casey and obviously Lynn’s been out there and has run before,” said Mr. Santorum. “I think he should seriously consider it. I hope he does.” 

Mr. Swann certainly has the finances to jumpstart a senatorial campaign. He is currently part owner of the Pittsburgh Power, a newly formed Arena Football League team. The pro-football Hall of Famer has also ran a state wide campaign as a GOP candidate in Pennsylvania.

His Republican credentials were already met with approval by the Pennsylvania GOP to run against Democrat Ed Rendell in 2006.  Mr. Swann has name ID all over the state from Steelers fans to Republicans who would like to see the seat Senator Casey won from Santorum in ‘06 back in GOP territory in 2012.

It should be remembered that 2006 was not a good year for Republicans nationally and statewide. Democrats took back the House and won a number of governors’ races. Swann lost to Rendell as did Santorum to Casey that year; however, 2012, as most people know at this point is different. 

President Bush is not in office to cast blame off to, though it’s done by Democrats anyway. And former Republican Rep. Mark Foley is no longer in office, but Democrats seem to be having their share of sex scandals as well these days.   

Pennsylvania’s Times Tribune blogger posted a piece last month about poll numbers relating to Senator Bob Casey Jr., Pennsylvania Democrat, and that Mr. Casey is doing better in the keystone state than President Barack Obama: (bolding is mine)

A majority of Pennsylvanians might be down on President Barack Obama, but they feel differently about U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.

The majority, 54 percent, said they disapprove of Mr. Obama’s job performance and only 43 percent say he deserves re-election, but a plurality, 48 percent, approve of Mr. Casey’s performance compared to 29 percent who don’t. Mr. Casey’s “deserves re-election” number is 47 percent compared to 33 percent who say he does not. He led against an unnamed Republican by 47 to 35 percent.Quinnipiac surveyed 1,358 registered voters between July 25 and Sunday and the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. The survey included 532 Republicans. That portion of the survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

State Republican Party chairman Rob Gleason was unimpressed by Mr. Casey’s number, saying job approval and re-elect numbers below 50 percent bode poorly for the first-term Democratic senator.“We’ll just tie him to Obama,” Mr. Gleason said. “He voted for Obama 92 percent of the time.”Actually, according to the Washington Post’s U.S. Congress Votes Database, Mr. Casey voted with the Democratic majority 97 percent of the time in his first two years as a senator, 94 percent in his second two years and 97 percent in this, his fifth year in office.

Though he was commenting on a July poll by Public Policy Polling, Lackawanna County Republican Party chairman Lance Stange said even comparatively unknown potential Republican challengers to Mr. Casey like Marc Scaringi and Laureen Cummings were drawing around 30 percent in a head-to-head matchup with the senator while Mr. Casey was only around 50 percent. And neither had “spent a dime,” Mr. Stange said.

Senator Casey’s numbers are not exactly strong. Without a candidate that can get the Republican Pennsylvania electorate hyped up, Senator Casey may very well sail into a second term easily. However, a Lynn Swann senatorial candidacy could actually change that.