- The Washington Times
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Republican Sen. Pat Toomey won reelection Tuesday after months of heartburn over his button-lipped stance on Donald Trump, allowing Senate Republicans to hold their chamber majority.

For months, the race had been too-close-to-call, as Mr. Toomey appeared to be pulled under by general opposition to Mr. Trump, who lagged behind Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in recent presidential polls out of the Keystone State, only to surge on Election Day.

Indeed, Mr. Toomey faced a tough balancing act in his battleground state. He needed to bring in the throng of excited Trump supporters in coal and steel towns across the state, without turning off suburban Philadelphia voters who tended to favor Hillary Clinton.

He even refused to say whether he planned to vote for Mr. Trump in interviews leading up to Election Day, resulting in awkward moments along the trail.

Mr. Toomey finally said he voted for Mr. Trump at about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, prompting Ms. McGinty to accuse the Republican of waiting out the clock as long as possible.

“Let’s be clear here: Pat Toomey is intentionally waiting until millions of his constituents have already voted today before making clear to them who he supports to be our next commander in chief,” McGinty campaign spokesman Josh Levitt said earlier in the day.

Yet Mr. Toomey’s gambit worked out in the end.

During the campaign, Mr. Toomey highlighted his opposition to “sanctuary cities” that generally limit the extent to which local authorities will assist or communicate with federal immigration officials when they come across someone who may be in the country illegally.

He also touted his failed 2013 push to expand background checks on gun purchases, though President Obama slammed the campaign for using video of him praising the senator.

“Courage is telling Pennsylvania voters where you stand on the tough issues, not just the easy ones like background checks,” Mr. Obama said in the statement released through the Senate Democrats’ campaign committee. “Pat Toomey won’t tell Pennsylvania voters where he stands on Donald Trump, trying instead to have it both ways by telling different people what he thinks they want to hear. That’s not courage.”

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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