Smith’s background in one of the state’s bedrock industries, coal mining, also form his views of the Democrats’ “war on coal.” Smith says, “It’s almost all energy. Coal has a bad name but that industry has cleaned up unbelievably. It’s not just a phrase, ‘clean coal’; it’s here. Coal is the cheapest and most reliable source of energy there is and the people of Pennsylvania deserve it. The foundation for a strong and vibrant economy is a stable source of energy and that’s coal.”

But Smith is a Republican running in Pennsylvania. Doesn’t it tend to be a fairly blue state?

“It’s true that in 2008 Pennsylvania went for Obama, but in 2010 the voters started turning this state pink,” Smith said. “That year they elected Sen. Pat Toomey” along with a slate of Republicans for House, the legislature, and the governorship. “Fifty-two of sixty-seven counties in the state are now in Republican hands,” said Smith, “and that’s where we’re going to have a lot of grassroots support for this campaign.”

The Casey name still looms large in Pennsylvania thanks to the current first-term senator’s father, who served as governor. But history looms larger, according to Tom Smith. “There has not been a sitting Democratic U.S. senator re-elected in the state of Pennsylvania in over 50 years,” said Smith with confidence in his voice. “I’m doing everything that I can to make sure that history prevails.” He added that his win would provide evidence that formerly blue Pennsylvania is trending red. He has a point: to the state’s Republican governor, state legislative majority, U.S. House delegation majority, and Sen. Pat Toomey, would be added Republican Sen. Tom Smith.

“In a few short weeks voters in this state will make a decision: Do we want a bigger government and less freedoms, or a smaller government and more freedoms? Bob Casey is not the person to stand up and defend smaller government.”

Tom Smith says that if he is elected to represent Pennsylvania in the Senate, he will.