We’ve been fortunate with Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation in that gun rights are typically respected by members of both parties (exceptions exist, obviously), so a tide of anti-incumbent attitude among the electorate could have a serious impact on the issues we care about.
Right now, eyes are focused on PA-12. Deceased Congressman John Murtha was a dedicated advocate for the Second Amendment, and many of his possible replacements are unknowns. Last weekend, local Democratic activists selected longtime aide Mark Critz to run for the special election to complete the term, and they will likely back him during the primary election to be held the same day. However, the Democratic state committee is expected to meet today to issue the formal endorsement for the special election seat, and that may not be Critz. Though he has local support, the state officials may opt for someone else to appear on the ballot with local support.
On the Republican side, local party leaders will meet on Thursday to select a candidate for the special election, and presumably give party support for the primary election. Unlike the Democratic Party, the state leaders in the GOP cannot override the local decision.
Beyond the the southwest corner, there are other races heating up. PoliticsPA has started a new feature to examine the competitiveness of various Congressional races each month. The race for PA-12 is considered only the fourth most competitive race. Their predicted hotbed of activity? PA-7, the seat vacated by Congressman Joe Sestak.
For known incumbents, gun owners in PA-11 will have their hands full with the race featuring pro-gun Congressman Paul Kanjorski. Early polling indicates he is very weak and may be defeated. Up in the northwest corner, Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper will face a big challenge. In a record year for Democrats in 2008, she just squeezed out a 7,000 vote victory over the incumbent representative. This year may be the best chance to oust this F-rated freshman in PA-3.
At little closer to the Southeast, we have the 7th, 8th, and 9th most competitive races with PA-15 (pro-gun Congressman Charlie Dent), PA-8 (with leaning anti-gun Congressman Patrick Murphy), and PA-6 (with pro-gun Congressman Jim Gerlach). These are vital races for Pennsylvania gun owners, and we need to turn out long before election day to make sure the right men and women take office.
While most campaigns are wrapping up their signature collection efforts, there are still plenty of activities for those looking to give a little of their time in support of the Second Amendment. If you want to help out, just contact us and we’ll let you know what is going on in your area.
UPDATE: The Democratic Party has formally selected Mark Critz to run in the special election on May 18 to fulfill the rest of his boss’s term. It is expected that he will have challengers for the other election that day – the primary election for the regular November election.