Thursday, May 06, 2010

State-Controlled AP: Dems in Fear of Losing Murtha Seat

How worried are the Democrats? They're pouring money into a race in support of a supposedly pro-life, pro-gun Democrat. Liberals openly hate pro-lifers and gun owners are seen as a threat to mankind, but when it comes to their tenuous grip on power, principles go out the window.

Smell the desperation.
In what was the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha's western Pennsylvania district — reachable through John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport or John P. Murtha Highway — Democrats watch nervously, hoping his former top aide can hold on to the House seat.

Mark Critz, who worked for Murtha for more than a decade in Pennsylvania, including the past three as district director, is in a fierce fight with Republican businessman Tim Burns in the May 18 special election. The national GOP has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to push Burns' candidacy, sensing a legitimate shot of capturing the seat held for 36 years by Murtha, an ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

A loss would unnerve Democrats, who face the backlash against the party in power typical for a midterm election year, and depress the outlook for the party's other candidates in Pennsylvania, which Barack Obama won easily in 2008.

Democrats hold a roughly 2-to-1 registration edge in the socially conservative, blue-collar district marked by old steel mills, coal mines — and projects named for Murtha, who was the powerful chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee. He died in February at age 77 from complications of gallbladder surgery.

Growing opposition to Obama and the Democrats, tea party-driven discontent and unhappiness with the president's health care law give Republicans hope that the 42-year-old Burns, who lives in Eighty Four, can win.
Believe me, there could never have been a tea party movement and we'd likely be in the same position we are now. there wasn't a tea party movement in 1994 and the Democrats still got their doors blown off. The movement has come to symbolize the discontent but it would be there nonetheless.

Here's how Jim Geraghty sizes it up.
Polling puts Republican Tim Burns narrowly ahead of Democrat Mark Critz, but in a district full of white, working-class conservative Democrats, it is likely to be a close finish. Critz is in a strange position, having to run ads touting that he opposed the health-care bill, but also declaring at a recent candidate forum that he would not vote to repeal the health-care bill. He has also apologized for an ad that mischaracterized Burns’s past statements on taxes.

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