PA12 Special Report: Behind the Scenes of the Pennsylvania Patriot Revolution

posted at 8:30 pm on May 2, 2010 by The Other McCain

This past week, I made two trips to western Pennsylvania to cover the crucial May 18 special election in the 12th District, formerly represented by Jack Murtha, whose Feb. 8 death created an open seat where the latest Daily Kos poll shows Republican Tim Burns now pulling ahead by 6 points in a hard-fought battle against Democrat Mark Critz. (National Review‘s Jim Geraghty says, “And if DK/R2000 are still using the same 2008 turnout model that all their other polls have used, Burns is actually up by a few points more.” ) Despite the encouraging news, this should be a down-to-the-wire fight in a district where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-to-1.

It’s hard to overstate just how important this election is, in terms of whether (a) the Tea Party movement will be a real political force in the mid-term campaign this fall or (b) that whole Scott Brown thing in January was just a fluke. With so much at stake, Republicans are mounting a massive effort in PA12.

This is the call center near campaign headquarters in Washington, Pa., where about two dozen phones were in operation Friday, as volunteers contacted voters throughout the district.

The candidate talks with volunteers at the call center.

Douglas Cannon, 20, from Boca Raton, Fla., is a student at Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. This kid’s so fast on the phone, the camera blurred!

This is enthusiastic Burns volunteer Margaret, an immigrant from Scotland who’s only been a U.S. citizen for four years. She says, “I love the Constitution, and I don’t want it changed!”

Interviewing campaign staffer Jonathan Gohrband at the call center, an operation involving advanced sophisticated technology so top-secret that I’m not allowed to describe it, even if I could possibly understand how it works.

Everybody’s watching this district as a bellwether, because PA-12 is home to so many of the working-class voters whose support the Republicans must win back if they are to win the 40+ seats necessary to recapture a House majority in November. As Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard notes, it’s not quite accurate to call them “Reagan Democrats,” since this region was twice carried by Jimmy Carter in 1976 and ’80 and by Walter Mondale in ’84. Bill Clinton carried this region twice, Kerry won it in 2004, and Hillary Clinton stomped Obama 2-to-1 here in the 2008 Democratic primary. (Hillary carried Greene and Fayette counties by 3-to-1 margins.)

That’s when Obama described these small-town Pennsylvanians as bitter gun-clingers. The McCain-Palin ticket carried the 12th District in November 2008, and the anti-Obama phenomenon among some Democrats here is quite real. While I was at Burns campaign HQ Friday, I interviewed a registered Democrat from Fayette County who stopped by the office to pick up a yard sign. This was a blue-collar working man who had voted for Murtha in the past, but who has no use at all for the agenda currently being pushed by Obama and Nancy Pelosi. Democrats are pouring in money for Critz:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md.) hosted a fundraiser in Washington on April 20 for Critz, a former Murtha aide. . . .

Since winning the backing of the Democratic Party to run for Murtha’s seat in the May 18 special election, Critz raised $ 376,088 in the last couple of months.

Democrats are running blatantly deceptive ads against Burns, who is now firing back with this TV ad portraying Critz — quite accurately — as a Washington bureaucrat beholden to Pelosi:

The Burns campaign can count on lots of votes from what one staffer described as “pissed off” Democrats and independents, but the real key will be the ability of Burns to appeal to some of the 12th District’s more affluent voters, who drifted away from the GOP in recent election cycles. A look at the district map may be helpful:

The 12th District is a psychedelic gerrymander on steroids — a Rorshach inkblot, as one campaign source described it — and includes some upscale “exurban” areas in Westmoreland County, east of Pittsburgh. Turning out GOP votes in Westmoreland will be crucial to victory for Burns on May 18. On Election Night, staffers in the campaign “war room” will have a keen eye on returns from those Westmoreland precincts.

Wednesday, I was at Westmont Hilltop High School, where the candidates debated and my buddy Chris Renner got video of both candidates’ closing statements — first Burns, then Critz:

“Do you think Nancy Pelosi would be working so hard to get Mark Critz elected… if she thought for one minute that he was going to vote against her agenda?” Burns said in his final remarks Wednesday, which ended with a cheerful invitation. “I can’t come to Johnstown without stopping at Coney Island for a hot dog, so that’s where we’re going after the debate — maybe I’ll see some of you there.”
“Special Time in Pennsylvania,” The American Spectator

Burns shakes hands with the loser of the debate.

Burns is congratulated by supporters after the debate, and he was as good as his word about the post-debate celebration at Coney Island Lunch . . .

The diner is a landmark in downtown Johnstown, where I got this video of the hometown candidate describing the speciality of the house:

Tim Burns for Congress campaign headquarters is at 157 S. Main Street in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Two doors down the street . . .

Uprisings against oppressive government are kind of a local tradition, you might say. Here’s a video about this latest Pennsylvania Patriot revolution:

This is Angela Lash, outreach coordinator for the campaign, whose job Friday was to deal with “that crazy blogger guy,” as Tim Burns now calls me. The Pennsylvania Patriot revolution needs volunteers for their army. To learn more, visit TimBurnsForCongress.com, or e-mail the campaign or call 814-619-3414.


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I heard Tim Burns interviewed by Rob Long, et al on the Ricochet.com Podcast; #14, called Raising Arizona. WOW. Tim Burns impressed me unbelievably, and gave me hope for November, and our Republic. This guy needs everyone’s support.

ParisParamus on May 2, 2010 at 8:30 PM

Guy Fawkes would be envious of this coming November.

OldEnglish on May 2, 2010 at 8:38 PM

In what certainly seems like four score and seven years ago, American voters, deceived by a man of a true nature most foul and his media propaganda ministers, brought forth, upon this Nation, a warped man, conceived who knows where for certain, who is dedicated to the proposition that all men are created weak and subservient to his will and whim.

Now we are engaged in a great battle, testing whether this nation, or any nation so burdened, and so assaulted, can long endure. We are met here today on a battlefield at a Tea Party Freedom Movement rally in Pennsylvania, with compatriots at Tea Party Freedom Movement rallies throughout the nation as well as compatriots on the radio waves and internet battlefields of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of our lives in honor of our forefathers who dedicated their lives that this nation might live vigorous and free. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

It is for us, the living, to be dedicated to the restoration of freedom, liberty, progress and sanity which our Founders so nobly brought about. It is for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they so long ago gave the full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that our Founding Fathers shall not have labored in vain; that this nation shall have a rebirth of freedom and responsibility; and that this government will once again be of the people, by the people, for the people, and that we will not allow Barack Hussein Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to cause it, and it’s shinning light, to perish from the Earth.

MB4 on May 2, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Djou in HI01 is looking good as well.

tetriskid on May 2, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Guy Fawkes would be envious of this coming November.

OldEnglish on May 2, 2010 at 8:38 PM

Remember, remember, come this November
The festering heat they have brought
‘Tis no reason why their assault on America
Should be forgiven, nor forgot

All you tyrants who lord over us
You who give us the smack of your rod
Soon now we will throw you under your own bus
We will give you the Judgment of God!

PercyB on May 2, 2010 at 8:47 PM

“This was a blue-collar working man who had voted for Murtha in the past, but who has no use at all for the agenda currently being pushed by Obama and Nancy Pelosi.”

Fricken Racist…!

/Bluetinos Unite!!!

Seven Percent Solution on May 2, 2010 at 8:48 PM

I donated earlier this week. Let’s turn this baby RED! Thx for the pics and extensive background…I love special elections!

Buckeye Babe on May 2, 2010 at 8:48 PM

Remember the Vomit…

Seven Percent Solution on May 2, 2010 at 8:57 PM

OT:

Great series on History Channel: I think it’s called “America,Who We Are.”
Watched the first epi last week, really enjoyed it. Watched re-run again this evening, loved it more. Second epi airing tonight @9:00ET. Would love to know what fellow hotairians think.

Chewy the Lab on May 2, 2010 at 9:00 PM

That unindicted Marine hating (when it can score political points) Marine’s seat is going to go the right way.

jukin on May 2, 2010 at 9:04 PM

Now this… is a post! Great job!!!

katy on May 2, 2010 at 9:04 PM

I am so happy at this time in history to get to watch the people of a nation stand up and define and represent what they believe in, it is a sight to behold.

heshtesh on May 2, 2010 at 9:04 PM

Tea Party movement will be a real political force in the mid-term campaign this fall or (b) that whole Scott Brown thing in January was just a fluke.
==================================

I don’t believe a fluke,but we will soon see!

canopfor on May 2, 2010 at 9:06 PM

Did anyone else say Hammer & Sickle as a Rorshach? response to the 12th District ink blot

ericdijon on May 2, 2010 at 9:06 PM

PercyB on May 2, 2010 at 8:47 PM

NIcely done! :)

OldEnglish on May 2, 2010 at 9:07 PM

When Bozo Obama gets nothing but egg on his face
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We’ll give him a Big Bronx cheer then
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The Hotair men will yell and shout
The Hotair ladies they will all turn out
And Obama’s reign will be as good as dead by November time this year!

The blogs and radio waves will peal with joy
Hurrah! Hurrah!
To ridicule the empty headed and empty handed boy
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The Hotair lads and lassies say
With dripping sarcasm we will strew his way
And Obama’s reign will be as good as dead by November time this year!

Get ready for the Celebration Jubilee
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We’ll reveal Zero for all the world to see
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The dunce cap is ready now
To place upon his narcissistic brow
And Obama’s reign will be as good as dead by November time this year!

Let an American Revival be born on that day
Hurrah, Hurrah!
It’s choicest pleasures then display
Hurrah, Hurrah!
And let each one perform some part
To fill with joy the patriot’s heart
And we’ll all feel great
When Obama’s reign is as good as dead by November time this year!

Cheshire Cat on May 2, 2010 at 9:07 PM

Would love to know what fellow hotairians think.

Chewy the Lab on May 2, 2010 at 9:00 PM

Thanks for the tip, Chewy. We should get it in Oz before the lights go out.

OldEnglish on May 2, 2010 at 9:10 PM

I hope that there is enough disgust with ObaMaonomics and the Pelosi Prize in that district. There is a heavy dose of goonion influence and downright mafiosa-like political clout in some of those towns. Maybe the traditionally Dem voters in PA-12 are wising up to how their party’s machine and its enforcers do not have their best interests at heart.

onlineanalyst on May 2, 2010 at 9:12 PM

You want to know what you are, Barack Obama? Huh? Huh? You don’t, I do, everyone does… … you’re the son of a thousand fathers, all narcissistic tyrants like you.

Tuco on May 2, 2010 at 9:17 PM

What katy said.

GREAT POST.

John the Libertarian on May 2, 2010 at 9:19 PM

Great series on History Channel: I think it’s called “America,Who We Are.”
Watched the first epi last week, really enjoyed it. Watched re-run again this evening, loved it more. Second epi airing tonight @9:00ET. Would love to know what fellow hotairians think.

Chewy the Lab on May 2, 2010 at 9:00 PM

Watched it last night on the Tivo and really enjoyed it, except for Skippy Gates (the police acted stupidly) being one of the commenters.

PatMac on May 2, 2010 at 9:19 PM

Outstanding work as per usual Mr. McCain. Far too many bloggers hide behind monitors and keyboards and think they are serious journalists, whereas you actually do honest old-school reporting. I respect that a great deal.

Paul Revere_1 on May 2, 2010 at 9:26 PM

OT:

Great series on History Channel: I think it’s called “America,Who We Are.”
Watched the first epi last week, really enjoyed it. Watched re-run again this evening, loved it more. Second epi airing tonight @9:00ET. Would love to know what fellow hotairians think.

Chewy the Lab on May 2, 2010 at 9:00 PM

Chwy the Lab: I do hope this is it!:)
==========================================================

America The Story of Us – Sundays at 9/8c
————————————————

America The Story of Us: Rebels (45:00)
This is the story of how, over seven generations, a group of European settlers survive against all odds, claw themselves up, and then turn against their colonial masters. A diverse group of men, women and children are about to become truly American.
=============================================

http://www.history.com/shows/america-the-story-of-us/videos/america-the-story-of-us-rebels#america-the-story-of-us-rebels

===============

http://www.history.com/

canopfor on May 2, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Djou in HI01 is looking good as well.

tetriskid on May 2, 2010 at 8:46 PM

Djou-ly noted!

The Other McCain on May 2, 2010 at 9:32 PM

canopfor on May 2, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Thanks!
I’m watching right now, makes me so proud…um, even though they just talked about the Donner Party…ew!

Chewy the Lab on May 2, 2010 at 9:40 PM

NC goes to the polls on tuesday. Many GOP candidates trying to win the nomination to go up against Pelosi’s henchmen of ethridge and Price.

I think those 2 seats are very winnable by the GOP this year if they would make an effort.

unseen on May 2, 2010 at 9:48 PM

canopfor on May 2, 2010 at 9:28 PM
=============================
Thanks!
I’m watching right now, makes me so proud…um, even though they just talked about the Donner Party…ew!

Chewy the Lab on May 2, 2010 at 9:40 PM

Chewy the Lab: Your welcome,I’m gonna watch it later
tonight,love shows like this,History
Channel also has a new series out called
Ancient Aliens!!:)

canopfor on May 2, 2010 at 9:51 PM

Thanks for this post, Stacy!

I also think Pelosi has a lot at stake in this election because she was so close to Murtha.

MB4 on May 2, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Excellent!

INC on May 2, 2010 at 10:15 PM

Tim Burns was picked by Rob Gleason, the head of the Pa. GOP, because Burns has deep pockets…could self-fund… and could contribute to other Pa. GOP candidates and the party itself. Rob Gleason owns Gleason Finance,Gleason Technology, and Gleason Insurance. His insurance company underwrites all of the defense companies that Murtha bought to the district…including Kurchera. Gleason was friends with Murtha. Sound a little sleazy? It’s VERY sleazy. The true tea party candidate and conservative in the race is Bill Russell. Sorry, but this article doesn’t scratch the surface of what’s really going on in PA-12.

DCJeff on May 2, 2010 at 10:16 PM

OT:

Great series on History Channel: I think it’s called “America,Who We Are.”
Watched the first epi last week, really enjoyed it. Watched re-run again this evening, loved it more. Second epi airing tonight @9:00ET. Would love to know what fellow hotairians think.

Chewy the Lab on May 2, 2010 at 9:00 PM

It is well done, they totally skipped the southern half of the American Revolution and rip roaring battles like King’s Mountain.

I did find one historical inaccuracy, Simon Fraser was killed on the order of Benedict Arnold.

Holger on May 2, 2010 at 10:30 PM

..this is cool; AP and Ed ceding posts to the common folks like T. O. McCain. Meaning of course how cool this movement is that we can all share in the glory of the common man taking back the gummint..or sumpin.

I mean, this is Sunday night, fer crissakes, and we’re gathering on the common waiting for the Red Coats to arrive.

If Burns kicks ass look for the MSM spin and the heads in the sand by Obama and his putrid crew. Echo chamber, baby, echo chamber!

(Excuse me, but I am suffused with a few doses of Glenfiddich and feeling no pain; friends don’t let friends post drunk, but from the bottom of my heart, thanks Ed and Stacy!)

The War Planner on May 2, 2010 at 10:40 PM

OT:

Great series on History Channel: I think it’s called “America,Who We Are.”
Watched the first epi last week, really enjoyed it. Watched re-run again this evening, loved it more. Second epi airing tonight @9:00ET. Would love to know what fellow hotairians think.

Chewy the Lab on May 2, 2010 at 9:00 PM

I watched it, they completely skipped over the Southern part of the Revolut!onary War which was rip roaring. I did notice one error.

British General Fraser was killed by Timothy Murphy on the orders of Benedict Arnold IIRC.

Holger on May 2, 2010 at 10:55 PM

Scott Browns election was remarkable but if the GOP can take John Murtha seat that would be history making, how legends are born and the the marker that all future events are measured up to.

This would also be a major early stab in the monster of progressivism to the final death blow in November.

tjexcite on May 2, 2010 at 10:56 PM

I am suffused with a few doses of Glenfiddich
The War Planner on May 2, 2010 at 10:40 PM

Impeccable taste, Sir! Och Ay.

OldEnglish on May 2, 2010 at 11:33 PM

I concur with DCJeff. I think Burns is a Squishy Republican elitist. Bill Russell is the true Conservative Candidate and people need to vote for him in the Primary on election day. It is OK to vote for Burns to get the seat from Pelosi’s grasp to fill the vacancy for this Congress. But voting for Bill Russell to be the R candidate in the general election for the next Congress is the better choice. We need REAL conservatives who are running for the right reason.

karenhasfreedom on May 2, 2010 at 11:45 PM

Guy Fawkes would be envious of this coming November.

OldEnglish on May 2, 2010 at 8:38 PM

I live that reference, November 5th is ckose enough for me!

bluemarlin on May 2, 2010 at 11:53 PM

God let a conservative take that seat.

I want to see Olbermann stroke out again…

Sorry, was that wrong? Meh.

docjohn52 on May 3, 2010 at 12:28 AM

MB4 on May 2, 2010 at 8:43 PM

Well said.

DrMagnolias on May 3, 2010 at 6:49 AM

We live in a small town, not too far from this district. Registration is heavily Democratic. Own a small business. Cannot tell you, how many times I have heard the phrase ” I have been a Democrat all my life, but….”. I still think the powers that be have no idea what is heading their way in November.

humdinger on May 3, 2010 at 7:29 AM

NC goes to the polls on tuesday. Many GOP candidates trying to win the nomination to go up against Pelosi’s henchmen of ethridge and Price.

I think those 2 seats are very winnable by the GOP this year if they would make an effort.

unseen on May 2, 2010 at 9:48 PM

Frank Roche will take David’s Price seat.

bloggless on May 3, 2010 at 7:36 AM

You guys don’t have a shill here posting a site for donations?

Is this it?

http://www.TimBurnsForCongress.com

IlikedAUH2O on May 3, 2010 at 8:00 AM

in Va’s 5th CD, we are having Republican primary on 6/8 to pick nominee to run against freshman Pelosi-enabler, DEM Tom Perriello.

one of the candidates, a state Senator is slammed as “establishment” (but he can raise money & he already represents 1/3 of the district in his state senate seat). Several of the candidates claim to be the TEA party choice. One candidate claims to be an “expert” on the Constitution because he has visited the monuments in DC & read “alot”. Another candidate said he doesn’t need the Republican party to win (this guy lent his campaign $500,000 but has only raised $20-$30,000 from the public). The female in the race is the choice of homeschoolers & religious right.

Meanwhile, Perriello has, at last count, $1.4 million in his campaign war chest.

and Organizing for America, the “volunteer” arm of DNC (can you say SEIU & the unemployed Obamabots waiting for Bambi’s “stash”?) have promised to campaign for Perriello.

so after June 8, come down to visit us & write a post.

kelley in virginia on May 3, 2010 at 8:03 AM

Thanks for the great info, Stacey.

lionheart on May 3, 2010 at 8:05 AM

Thanks for the informative post! This Tea Partier has just contributed to the Burns Campaign. Let’s get this done! The libs are SO BUSTED!

Christian Conservative on May 3, 2010 at 8:19 AM

Crist has proven he is as illiterate as Murtha and being just as corrupt seems to a developing pattern. If Pennsylvanians put him into office, they will get what they deserve. It cannot get anymore obvious than this.

volsense on May 3, 2010 at 9:03 AM

This is enthusiastic Burns volunteer Margaret, an immigrant from Scotland who’s only been a U.S. citizen for four years. She says, “I love the Constitution, and I don’t want it changed!”

To the supporters for open borders, Margaret represents the kind of citizens this country should want. Sounds as if she did it the legal way.

BuckeyeSam on May 3, 2010 at 9:19 AM

Just FYI, that district is not so very badly gerrymandered as it appears. That’s rural Pennsylvania, farming and mining country, and what they’ve done is gather together into one district every significant population center near Pittsburgh but outside of Allegheny County (the county in which Pittsburgh sits.) The gerrymandering is evident not so much in that they’ve included Washington, PA (south and west of Pittsburgh) and New Kensington (a northeast suburb of Pittsburgh) in a single district, as it is that they’ve excluded the rural and Republican areas between them, the rural parts of Indiana and Westmoreland Counties.

philwynk on May 3, 2010 at 12:03 PM

You guys don’t have a shill here posting a site for donations?

Is this it?

http://www.TimBurnsForCongress.com

IlikedAUH2O on May 3, 2010 at 8:00 AM

a better site to donate for this district is

http://www.russellbrigade.com

karenhasfreedom on May 3, 2010 at 1:36 PM

a better site to donate for this district is

http://www.russellbrigade.com

One thing Murtha was correct in was calling Russell a “carpetbagger”. Russell had his chance and lost. I can’t believe Russell would attack Burns for being a self-made millionaire. Isn’t that the American dream?

joest73 on May 3, 2010 at 6:44 PM

a better site to donate for this district is

http://www.russellbrigade.com

One thing Murtha was correct in was calling Russell a “carpetbagger”. Russell had his chance and lost. I can’t believe Russell would attack Burns for being a self-made millionaire. Isn’t that the American dream?

joest73 on May 3, 2010 at 6:44 PM

Burns grew up in the area (Johnstown), and lives in the District (Eighty Four, PA). I love how Karen calls Russell the “True Conservative”. I don’t see how Burns isn’t a Conservative. Looking at what he supports, He is probably more so a conservative than I am. (That probably isn’t hard to do…lol) Sinde when is it a bad thing in the Republician Party for people to make money in a legitimate business? I know the Dems are going Socialist more and more every day, but Repubs too?

I will support Burns in this Special Election…and I will support the winner of the primary in November.

pennjazz on May 3, 2010 at 10:53 PM