Dem senator: Trump victory in blue states a challenge for 2018 contenders

Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyHouse GOP frets over Pennsylvania race Do the numbers add up for Democrat Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania? Poll: Five Senate Dems would lose to GOP challenger if elections held today MORE Jr. (D-Pa.) said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpPoll: Both parties need to do more on drug prices Senate approves .3 trillion spending bill, sending to Trump White House: Trump will delay steel tariffs for EU, six countries MORE's victory in traditionally blue states during the 2016 election will be a challenge for Democrats like himself who are running for reelection in 2018.

"I think what happened in the election … is that Donald Trump carried Pennsylvania by a little more than 44,000 votes, mostly because we had a lot of Democrats that voted for Donald Trump," Casey said in an interview with John Catsimatidis that aired Sunday on New York's AM 970.

"So that's a challenge for anyone like me who is a Democrat, especially if you're running in 2018," he added.

The lawmaker said Democrats have to find new strategies to reconnect with voters who typically do not vote Republican.

"We've got to be able to connect with people in small towns and rural areas who actually are Democrats but maybe for the first time, or one of a few times, voted for a Republican for president," Casey said.

"And I think that is the basic explanation. We've got to speak to those voters and reconnect with them in a more effective way."

One of the issues that the lawmaker pointed to for uniting those across the political spectrum is improvement of infrastructure.

"I think it's an issue that unites the country, but especially Democrats, Republicans and Independents in a state like Pennsylvania ... We are now second in the country in the number of structurally deficient bridges," he said.

Casey added that he would like to see cooperation with Trump on the issue of infrastructure, but asked the president not to go along with the GOP plan to reform Medicaid.

"I guess I'd ask him to do one thing like infrastructure. To work with us on infrastructure. And I think he wants to do that," the senator argued.

"The one thing I would ask Trump not to do is to go along with the Republican idea in Congress, which is to block-grant or to badly or substantially change Medicaid," he said.