Pennsylvania... 12th District... Special Election to Replace Jack Murtha... Pennsylvania Needs a REAL Change!

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 02/11/2010 - 8:32pm.

Rep. John P. Murtha's death Monday has undoubtedly left a huge void in the Pennsylvania delegation and the Democratic Caucus, but it also sets up a competitive special election contest that both parties will heavily target. (Pay VERY close attention to the time table in this article for the special election... Call your County party leaders, tell them you DO NOT want 'MORE OF THE SAME'! ~ S.I.A.) - Talking Back

The 12th district is politically competitive, to say the least. The southwestern Pennsylvania district voted by a small margin for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in the 2008 presidential race, and often elects Republicans to local office. Murtha, meanwhile, has always won re-election by convincing margins. In 2008, he won by 20 points despite a last-minute gaffe about his own district on the campaign trail in the waning days before the election.

CQ Politics is moving the rating of this race to Tossup due to the makeup of the district and because the manner in which both parties will pick their nominees makes it anyone's game. What's more, special elections are unpredictable - as this election cycle has already demonstrated.

Gov. Ed Rendell (D) told reporters this week that he is inclined to hold the special election to fill the vacancy on May 18, which would coincide with the state's scheduled state and federal primaries.  

Rendell, however, withheld the right to change his mind pending what leaders in Washington, D.C. desire!

State law dictates that he must make a decision about the timing of the special contest by Feb. 18, and the special election must be held at least 60 days after the vacancy occurs.

Because each party has its own unique way of picking their nominees for the special election there is a lot of room for error and potential political minefields. Meanwhile, any candidate looking to run for a full term in November must collect and file petitions in the next four weeks in order to make it onto the ballot for the May 18 regular primary.

Keystone State Democrats will pick their candidate for the special election by a vote from 50 members on the state central committee. Although local party members will make their recommendations, the final pick comes from statewide party officials.

Navy Veteran Ryan Bucchianeri (D) had already announced that a campaign before Murtha's death, and he is likely to stay in the race. But given that now there is a special election, several other candidates will likely express interest in the next couple weeks. State Sen. John Wozniak is the most commonly mentioned Democratic name, although national Democrats might be hesitant about having a member of the highly unpopular state legislature as their standard bearer. Former Lt. Gov. Mark Singel (D) could also run, but there is also a downside to his candidacy because he has been a lobbyist in the state Capitol for almost a decade.

Local Republicans, meanwhile, will pick their candidate in the next few weeks when a conference of about 200 activists vote on their selection. Two Republicans declared their candidacies for the seat earlier in the cycle: Businessman Tim Burns and 2008 GOP nominee Bill Russell. But like the Democrats, now that this is an open-seat race, more Republicans are expected to throw their hats into the ring.

Republicans have floated names such as state Rep. Dave Reed, a young and ambitious lawmaker from Indiana, Pa. To a lesser extent, local Republicans also mention state Sen. Kim Ward, state Rep.Jeff Pyle and the 2006 GOP nominee and former Washington County Commissioner Diana L. Irey.

If Democrats ultimately hold onto Murtha's seat, it will be their fifth special election victory in a row. While the national political mood may currently favor the GOP, the National Republican Congressional Committee faces a huge financial hurdle in making the special election competitive.

This 12th district race may not be as expensive as some of this cycle's most competitive special election contests, but the NRCC ended 2009 with just $2.67 million in the bank — a figure that could easily represent their independent expenditure spending in other special elections. But if Republicans are successful in nationalizing this race in a similar way to the Massachusetts Senate special election, they won't need to spend as much money as Democrats to win.

Shira Toeplitz - February 10, 2010 - source CQPolitics


Keep in mind, no election should be a 'popularity contest'... Pennsylvania is in serious need of HONEST, CONSTITUTIONAL lawmakers.  If the voters have not been lied to and baffooned enough, they'll without doubt vote for more misery.  In the end everyone suffers.  Never chose a candidate who WILL NOT honor their oath, the constitution and proudly serve the people of Pennsylvania.  Use this time to check their voting records, find out as much as you can before the election.  EVERY vote matters in this election... your future, liberties and freedoms and those of your children matters... ~ SadInAmerica

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Thu, 02/11/2010 - 8:32pm.


Colin Ludwig (not verified) | Thu, 02/11/2010 - 10:17pm

In the midst of John Murtha's vacant Congressional seat what Washington DC needs more than ever is a strong populist voice against the weakening Obama-Pelosi-Reid contagion. I don't know if any of the candidates circulating the mill, Bill Russell and Tim Burns will really provide that sort of opposition. They'd simply just fill the seat or else lose it back to the Democrats. There needs to be energy behind a candidate and the last time I've seen such a thing in this area was with current State Senator Kim Ward. She was the first female Republican County Commissioner elected in Westmoreland County history. She was made popular by being a whistle blower that helped fight the contract corruption that existed with other county commissioners Balya and Ceraso. Then with 2 months left in Bob Regola's botched state senate run in 2008 the State Party asked her to take his place. In that small window of time she not only won the election, she trounced opponent Toni Bompeani by 9,000 votes in a year where democrats were grabbing seats left and right. She doesn't take her per diems like other reps and senators, she is at her office in Greensburg every day when not in session, and she answers her own e-mails for goodness sakes. Not to mention the tea party loves her. I think if you're going to run somebody, run somebody with momentum already so they can go into Washington with a vengeance and start to clean up the mess that the democrats have made. I hope the Republican party does the right thing and chooses Kim to save the day. I'm behind her.

Anonymous (not verified) | Fri, 02/12/2010 - 3:36pm

This an opportunity for the voters in Pennsylvania to be heard on a national level. Let's keep the momentum from the recent Massachusetts special election going and send a clear message to Obama and all of the elitist politicians in Washington that flaunt their blatant deal-making for personal and special interests.

Be informed. No matter which party you belong to, keep an eye on them. The Democrats will choose a candidate based on a 50-member vote by the state central committee. The Republicans will have a vote by 200 activists in a few weeks.

Also, keep an eye on the Governor. If Pennsylvania law says that the election date must be set by February 18th and then occur no later that 60 days after that (April 19th)then the election should be held by then...not a month later on May 18th. Who know's what could be voted on in DC during that lost month.

Research potential candidates (the internet is such a powerful tool for this) and make your voice heard by your party.

No former lobbyists, PLEASE, and while we're at it, let's NOT vote for any attorneys. Get involved, know your rights, use your power! Show the country that we're "Mad as hell and not taking it any more"!