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Pennsylvania Senate race moves back to "Toss Up"

Former Rep. Joe Sestak is on the comeback trail in his bid for Pennsylvania's Senate seat. AP Photo

When we moved the Pennsylvania Senate race to "lean Republican" in late September, Democratic strategists warned us that we would be moving it back to "Toss Up" before the election ended.

They were right.

Amid an onslaught of spending by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee -- $4.7 million in independent expenditures to date -- Rep. Joe Sestak (D) has climbed back into a statistical dead heat with former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) in the Keystone State.

A new Allentown Morning Call/Muhlenberg College survey released late last night, for example, gave Sestak 44 percent to 41 percent for Toomey.

And, Republicans acknowledge that their own data has shown the race tightening although they insist Toomey will ultimately pull it out.

Because of Democrats' massive registration edge in the state -- there are 1.2 million more registered Democrats than Republicans -- Sestak almost certainly will get somewhere in the high 40s in 13 days time.

The question is whether he can turn out enough Democratic base voters to offset the large margins by which Toomey will almost certainly win the central portion of the state where President Obama and the national Democratic party are persona non grata.

No matter what happens on Nov. 2, this race seems headed to a photo finish. And that makes it a "Toss Up" in our ratings.

Make sure to check out all our House, Senate and gubernatorial rankings in our terrific 2010 campaign maps.

By Chris Cillizza  | October 20, 2010; 10:57 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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