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November 2006

Special Dossier: Decision 5767
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State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr. and Senator Rick Santorum
Special Dossier: Decision 5767

Voter's Guide: U.S. Senate Race Pennsylvania
Rick Santorum vs. Bob Casey.

-- Jeff Hauser

The contest for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania features Republican Senator Rick Santorum running against Democratic Challenger Bob Casey, Jr.

Santorum was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1994, and before that served two terms as a congressman from Pennsylvania's 18th district. Santorum is currently the Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, making him the 3rd highest official in the Senate.

Bob Casey also has an impressive history of public service. Casey was elected to two terms as Pennsylvania's Auditor General before serving in his current post as State Treasurer. Casey is also the son of the late Robert P. Casey, who was the highly popular Governor of Pennsylvania 1987--1995.

The Pennsylvania Senate race has risen to the forefront of the 2006 election cycle. Despite his position of power within the Senate leadership, Senator Santorum has one of the lowest approval ratings of any U.S. Senator, and his seat has become a top target for Democratic leaders seeking to regain control of the Senate in November.

Much of the criticism directed at Santorum can be traced to his ultra-conservative views on many key issues, including gay rights and the separation of church and state. In addition, Santorum has also come under fire on numerous occasions because of insensitive public statements he has made on topics like homosexuality and the Holocaust.

Casey is generally more moderate and progressive-minded on the key Jewish issues. Casey has a positive relationship with the gay rights community and adamantly advocates on behalf of the separation of church and state. He also supports access to contraception and funding for family planning, which Santorum opposes. However, both Casey and Santorum strongly support Israel, and both endorse a pro-life position on abortion issues.

Here is some more information on how the two candidates stand on issues of importance to the Jewish community. 

  Bob Casey, Jr. (D. Challenger) Rick Santorum (R. Incumbent)
  • Strong supporter of Israel.
  • Policy statement: ?The United States and Israel share a deep bond based on common values and mutual interests. As a United States Senator, I will work to continue and strengthen this bond."
  • As Pennsylvania's state Treasurer, he has increased the state's investment in Israel Bonds, saying that support for Israel's economy is "a worthwhile international cause."
  • Strong supporter of Israel.
  • Sen. Santorum's homepage on Israel/Jewish issues.
  • 3 times Frank Lautenberg has sought to close the loopholes that allow American corporations to make huge profits working with the very same Iranian oil industry that funds terrorists killing innocent Israelis and Americans. Three times, Rick Santorum stood by Halliburton, rather than Israel and the American people. (7/26/2005 S.AMDT.1351 to S.1042; 9/30/2004 S.AMDT.3802 to S.2845; 5/19/2004 S.AMDT.3151 to S.2400)
Reproductive Freedom
  • Casey advocates a pro-life position on abortion issues.
  • However, Casey also ?supports birth control and public funding of family planning as a way to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies."
Separation of Church and State
  • Supports the 1st amendment guarantee of the separation of church and state.
  • Policy statement: ?The United States must maintain a separation of church and state and resist the encroachment of religion into the classroom and government services."
  • Casey also opposes the teaching of "intelligent design" in the classroom: "Bob Casey believes if intelligent design is taught it should be taught at home or in religious class, not in science class."
Human Rights
  • Bob Casey has been embraced as a supporter of the gay rights movement.
  • In addition, "Bob Casey supports the Hate Crimes bill that extends federal jurisdiction to hate crimes based on 'the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender or disability' of the victims."
  • Sen. Santorum's insensitive and offensive comments about homosexuality.
  • Sen. Santorum also voted in favor of S.J.R. 1, which sought to propose a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and woman only.
Energy Policy
  • Policy statement: the current leadership in Washington "puts forth an energy policy that gives billions in tax breaks to ExxonMobil without doing enough to reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
  • In addition, "Bob Casey will fight for a national energy policy that reduces our dependence on foreign oil and gives support to alternative energy and not Big Oil."
  • Sen. Santorum voted in favor of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This act has been criticized by many experts as little more than a massive subsidy for the traditional powerbrokers in the energy industry.
  • "Yes, there will be species that will go extinct but other species will come along and take their place." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 5/1/95)
  • Santorum is second in contributions from gas companies only to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)
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