Bob Casey Will Campaign With Anti-Police Group Amid Tough Reelection Fight

Sen. Bob Casey (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
March 18, 2024

Sen. Bob Casey (Pa.), who casts himself as a moderate bulwark against the Democratic Party’s radical elements, will appear at a campaign event this week with an activist group that has called to defund police departments.

Indivisible Philadelphia will host Casey on Tuesday as part of its campaign to "help Democrats get elected and re-elected this year," according to an event invitation. While the organization promotes the Democratic Party’s mainstream proposals, it has also endorsed some of the party’s most radical ideas. Indivisible Philadelphia called to "defund the police" and urged officials in the City of Brotherly Love to vote for a "reduction" in the police budget. Its parent group, Indivisible Project, has called to defund both Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

By hobnobbing with Indivisible Philadelphia, Casey runs the risk of undermining his image as a moderate Democrat in a tough reelection year. Casey, who took office in 2007, leads presumptive Republican nominee Dave McCormick by just 4 points in a recent Emerson poll, a narrow margin for a three-term incumbent. Former president Donald Trump beat President Joe Biden by 4 points in the poll.

Indivisible Philadelphia lobbied to defund police departments during the height of the anti-police movement in 2020. The group called to "defund the police" in one newsletter, and stated, "We won’t stop until they #DefundThePolice" in another. The group lobbied Philadelphia’s mayor and city leaders to not only vote against increasing funding for the police department, but to "vote for a reduction in their budget." Indivisible Philadelphia solicited donations for the Philadelphia Bail Fund to put an "end to cash bail in Philadelphia," a controversial proposal that lets some criminals out of jail without posting bail.

While Casey says he supports police, he has touted groups like Black Lives Matter, which push anti-police policies. After the May 2020 death of George Floyd, Casey said, "We must end police brutality and systemic racism in policing." In August 2020, Casey praised professional sports leagues for boycotting games after the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. Blake, who is black, was shot after he pulled a knife on a police officer during an arrest for violating a restraining order related to a sexual assault charge.

Casey appears at the group’s event as he faces pressure to oppose Biden appeals court nominee Adeel Mangi over his ties to organizations that have pushed anti-Israel rhetoric, called to defund police, and lobbied for the parole of six black nationalists convicted of murdering police officers.

McCormick, who recently received an endorsement from a group of 47 Pennsylvania sheriffs, has called on Casey to vote against Mangi, who will have jurisdiction over Pennsylvania if confirmed. Five police unions representing more than 280,000 officers have called on senators to vote against Mangi over his advisory board position with the Alliance of Families for Justice, a left-wing group cofounded by convicted cop killer Kathy Boudin.

Casey has not said how he will vote on Mangi, but CNN reported that several unidentified Democrats have told the White House they will vote against him.

The Indivisible Project has endorsed other purple state Democrats locked in tight Senate races. Last month, it endorsed Arizona Senate candidate Ruben Gallego, who said he was "honored" to have the group’s support.

Casey’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.