Obama Repeats Win in Pennsylvania Foiling Romney Effort

President Barack Obama won Pennsylvania, according to projections by CBS News and Fox News, rebuffing a late push by Republican challenger Mitt Romney to carry the state and its 20 electoral votes.

With 16 percent of Pennsylvania’s precincts reporting, Obama had 65 percent of the vote to Romney’s 33 percent, according to the Associated Press.

Pennsylvania last supported a Republican presidential candidate in 1988, and keeping it in the Democratic column was an integral part of Obama’s math for winning the 270 electoral votes needed for victory in today’s election. For Romney, the state offered an alternative path to the 270 threshold late in the campaign as polls showed Obama ahead in some of the states that had been the election’s main battlegrounds, including Ohio and Iowa.

Ad spending in Pennsylvania illustrates the sudden attention the state received.

From Oct. 6 to Oct. 28, an estimated $300,000 was spent on 101 television commercials airing in the state concerning the presidential race, all by groups not directly associated with either the Obama or Romney campaigns, according to Kantar Media’s CMAG, a New York-based ad tracker. From Oct. 29 to Nov. 4, Pennsylvanians saw 8,052 presidential ads on broadcast TV and national cable stations, costing an estimated $11.2 million, CMAG data show.

Ad Flurry

Obama’s campaign ran 2,840 ads during that period at an estimated cost of $3 million, while Romney spent about $1.3 million on 1,057 spots and his allied super-political action committee, Restore Our Future, spent an estimated $1.8 million to run 822 ads.

Romney included a Nov. 4 rally in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, in his campaign itinerary, his first visit to the state since Sept. 28. He then traveled to Pittsburgh today, after having voted in his home state of Massachusetts, in a final bid for support.

Former President Bill Clinton was dispatched by Obama’s campaign to tout the president yesterday at four events in Pennsylvania.

Rich Beeson, Romney’s political director, said Nov. 4 on “Fox News Sunday” that Pennsylvania had become “very fertile ground for us.”

White House senior adviser David Plouffe, during a Nov. 4 appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” dismissed the late Romney focus on Pennsylvania as “a desperate ploy at the end of the campaign.”

The state’s unemployment rate was 8.2 percent in September, down from a high of 8.7 percent in March 2010 while above the national figure of 7.8 percent that month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate had ticked up from 7.4 percent in May.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan D. Salant in Washington at jsalant@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net.

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