February 09, 2010

Notes from #PA12

Some developing info on the Murtha seat to bring people up to speed:

There will be a special election to fill the vacancy.  This special election is almost certainly going to be held on the same day as the spring primary election, May 18th.  Candidates for the special election will be chosen by the parties, NY23-style. 

Because the special election is held coincident with the primary, voters will be voting both for the interim Congressman and also for the nominees for the November election -- voting for two elections for the same Congressional seat.  Nothing precludes the party-nominated interim candidate from seeking the primary nomination, so one candidate might be on the ballot twice.

Previously declared Republican candidates for the seat are Bill Russell (Army vet, 2008 challenger) and Tim Burns (businessman).  Other primary candidates may now emerge as well.  The petition period to get on the primary ballot in PA is Feb 16 to March 9.

Some other potential GOP candidates (either for the interim position, or I suppose for the "real" full-term election) might be:
- Jeff Pyle (State Rep.)
- Diana Irey (County commissioner and 2006 candidate)
- Mark Pasquerilla (business owner, hotels; regionally recognized last name)

A lot of eyes are probably on Russell.  He has demonstrated massive fundraising ability, though unfortunately it has been done through the inefficient direct-mail process, and he's not actually sitting on a ton of cash right now.  Some are out there exaggerating how "close" Russell came to unseating Murtha in 2008.  The vote was Murtha 57.9% to Russell 42.2%, a difference of 15.7%.  In my book, that's pretty bad, though in fairness it was a marginal improvement over Irey in 2006, and it was done in the worst possible environment for GOP candidates.  The "close" claim comes from one or two polls (iirc, media polls) that had the race at high single digits a few weeks out from the election.  If you want to call that "close", then go ahead, but I wouldn't.

Posted by: JoeCollins at 11:20 AM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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