The Pennsylvania Senate race is among the tightest in the country as both candidates, Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak, relentlessly work to paint their opponent as the most extreme version of a party faithful.
The two men squared off in their first televised debate of the general election expressing widely divergent views on everything from economic policy to abortion and how to treat accused terrorists.
Pat Toomey, a former Congressman and one time head of the conservative Club for Growth, accused Sestak of voting for multiple bailouts, spending money the taxpayers don't have and the country can't afford.
"It's very clear. The person who is the extreme candidate that is so far out of touch with Pennsylvania is Joe Sestak," argued Toomey.
Sestak, a Congressman and former Navy Admiral, said it was Toomey who was out of step with the people, instead spending his career catering to Wall Street and multi-national corporate interests.
As the debate wrapped, Toomey went after Sestak's record in a behind-the-scenes interview, aiming to link him to the Obama administration's goals and big name Democrats.
"His voting record is very clear," said Toomey. "Joe Sestak has been voting with Nancy Pelosi 100 percent of the time on every substantive matter and his only criticism of the agenda that Nancy Pelosi and President Obama have pursued, his only criticism, is that it hasn't gone far enough."
But, Sestak attacked Toomey in much the same way.
"Christine O'Donnell, Sarah Palin, Congressman Toomey -- who actually purged the Republican Party of moderates," said Sestak. "When he said the Club for Growth it should have been called the Club for Shrinking. That's the extreme that we can't have down in the Senate representing Pennsylvania because he'll be representing Wall Street."
Several polls released on Tuesday showed a race that had long been led by Toomey was shifting. Sestak has gained ground among likely voters. The latest Public Policy Polling shows the battle is a dead heat- Sestak 46 percent, Toomey 45 percent. The Muhlenberg College/Allentown Morning Call survey puts Sestak up by a miniscule margin- Sestak 44 percent, Toomey 41 percent.
A Quinnipiac Poll released Thursday, but also conducted before last night's debate, shows Toomey getting 48 percent of likely voters to 46 percent for Sestak. These numbers are a stark contrast to the 50 - 43 percent lead Toomey held in the Quinnipiac poll from September 22nd.
Both camps boasted more than $2 million cash on hand as of late September and with under two weeks to go before election day a spending blitz is expected. The airwaves are already inundated with campaign ads as Toomey and Sestak battle to win the support of a shrinking number of undecided voters.