Despite reports to the contrary, the head of the Republican Jewish Coalition insists that the partisan organization has not given up on Pennsylvania — though it has clearly scaled back its plans to vie for Jewish votes here.
It has been repeatedly reported over the past several weeks that the RJC had shifted $1.5 million intended for Pennsylvania to Nevada.
Nevada — where polls show a tighter race than in Pennsylvania — has an estimated Jewish population of about 74,000. The Philadelphia region alone is home to an estimated 214,000 Jews.
Matthew Brooks, executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, wouldn’t specify the extent to which the Pennsylvania ad buy has been cut down.
“We scaled it back, but we didn’t cancel it,” said Brooks.
The RJC is spending a total of about $5 million in television ads in Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio and Nevada, with the largest amount going toward the Sunshine State. The first ad plays
off the theme that Jewish voters have suffered from “buyer’s remorse” regarding the president.
Brooks said that the same ad is running on Philadelphia cable stations, where slots are significantly cheaper than on the major networks. He expects the current ad and subsequent commercials to run through Election Day.
The RJC is also continuing a direct-mail campaign in the region and is slated to run four more full-page ads in the Jewish Exponent.
Brooks also said a number of local RJC events featuring prominent speakers were in the works, but declined to provide more details.
Democrats and certain pundits have interpreted the RJC pullback as further evidence that the Republicans and Mitt Romney’s campaign have given up on winning Pennsylvania, a once hotly contested battleground state.
The www.realclearpolitics.com aggregate of seven recent polls in the Keystone State has President Barack Obama leading Romney by an average of 9 percentage points.
Jill Zipin, a coordinator of Obama Jewish Outreach Pennsylvania, a group of local Jews with no direct connection to the campaign, said that it seems clear that Pennsylvanians will back Obama on Election Day, despite having elected a conservative senator, Pat Toomey, and governor, Tom Corbett, just two years ago.
“I think they are going to have a tough time across the nation,” Zipin said of the RJC. “While the Jewish community is always a diverse community and always will be, the overwhelming majority of Jews continue to support the president.”