U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) defended President Joe Biden’s mental acuity on Monday, days after Biden’s poor debate performance that sparked panic within Democratic circles.

“He had a bad night and debate. But I think people know what’s at stake,” Casey said during a campaign appearance in Scranton.

He suggested Americans care more about abortion, labor, and voting rights.

Polls routinely show Pennsylvanians and Americans believe Biden is too old to be president.

Dave McCormick, Casey’s Republican opponent, blasted Casey’s comments defending the president. He posted on social media that Casey was going back to his routine of “protecting Biden and lying to Pennsylvanians.”

McCormick also wants Pennsylvanians to remember that it’s not the first time he’s suggested Biden is mentally fit.

The McCormick campaign released a web ad on Sunday tying Casey to Biden’s poor debate performance. It featured a clip of Casey defending Biden’s age and saying he has “a lot of confidence in his leadership.” The ad also asked when Casey will start telling the truth.

The commercial reinforced how competitive, expensive, and important the Keystone State is to both party’s fortunes in this year’s election.

McCormick’s U.S. Senate campaign received a $24 million ad buy from a top GOP Senate super PAC last week. The Senate Leadership Fund paid for the pro-McCormick ads. They will start airing on TV, radio, and online in September.

The new campaign is on top of the $30 million the McCormick-aligned Keystone Renewal PAC reserved for TV ads last month.

Not to be outdone, the Casey campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have an almost $18-million ad spending plan of their own. Those ads, which were announced in late May, will run online and on television. The committee also said it would target more women voters with ads.

Overall, the McCormick and Casey campaigns, along with allied groups, have spent or reserved $82 million for ads. That makes the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race one of the most expensive this election cycle, according to AdImpact.

Don’t expect the political election money spigot in Pennsylvania to stop anytime soon. Campaign finance documents show Casey has more than $11.8 million in cash on hand while McCormick has $6.1 million. The two have to file their next campaign finance reports this month.

The big bucks for ad spending in Pennsylvania aren’t surprising given its nature as a swing state that’s key in the battle for control of the Senate and the White House. The state was projected to see $725 million in political ad spending in the runup to the November election. So far, it’s seen more than $104 million in spending between the presidential and U.S. Senate races. Those expenditures are expected to dramatically rise as the calendar gets closer to November’s election.

Pennsylvania polls show former President Donald Trump with an almost three-point-lean over President Joe Biden. That caused the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia to change Pennsylvania’s Electoral College rating from “Leans Republican” to “Toss-up” last month.

The tight presidential race caused a ripple effect in the Casey-McCormick battle. Sabato’s Crystal Ball shifted the race from “Likely Democratic” to “Leans Democratic” last month. While election prognosticators keep Casey as the favorite in the race, they acknowledge the reality of a tight Senate contest in Pennsylvania. They’ve also said McCormick is giving Casey the most competitive race the three-term incumbent has had in years.

McCormick campaign spokesperson Nate Sizemore told DVJournal the businessman and combat veteran’s message appeals to most Pennsylvania voters who want new leadership and better ideas. He said Casey was willing “to tell voters any lie to extend his 30 years of living on Pennsylvania taxpayers’ dime.”

Casey’s campaign did not return DVJournal’s request for comment.

Casey and McCormick will have three debates this fall. One will be in Philadelphia while the others will be in Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.