Dems starting to panic in PA-12?

posted at 4:02 pm on May 6, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

At first blush, Democrats should have nothing to fear in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District special election.  John Murtha held this seat for decades.  Democrats have a 2-1 registration advantage over Republicans.  Their candidate was a Murtha aide for over ten years, while their opponent has had little political experience.  And yet, the AP has gotten a big whiff of panic from Pennsylvania Democrats (via JWF):

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. …

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.

The polling shows a very close race — with Burns in the lead. That has Democrats worried about how other normally-safe districts might turn out in November.  That fear has come out in Critz’ campaigning, where he has tried walking a tightrope between opposition to ObamaCare and refusing to commit to overturning it.  In a debate yesterday, Burns hammered Critz as to whether his opposition means anything at all if he refuses to take action once elected, a hypocrisy that will not have gone unnoticed by voters watching the debate.

Both national parties have spent plenty of money on this race, with the NRCC outpacing the DCCC by almost $100,000.  The DCCC has split its advertising between positive ads on Critz and negative ads against Burns.  That’s a bit of a surprise, considering a Democrat shouldn’t feel the need to sell himself in a district with a 2-1 registration advantage.  It shows the big problem Democrats face, which is a decided lack of enthusiasm among their own base in the face of overwhelming enthusiasm among Republicans and independents.  That’s exactly what has them panicked.

The election will take place in less than two weeks.  Special elections hinge on organization and GOTV efforts, but even with that in mind, the big question will be whether Democrats can actually hold districts with 2-1 advantages — and how much it will cost them to do so.  If they lose PA-12, that will mean a lot more seats could be in play in November, a possibility they don’t want making headlines later this month.  As in dating, desperation is no aphrodisiac in politics.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Does anybody think Palin’s recent endorsement of Tim Burns had anything to do with this eventuality?

technopeasant on May 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM

As in dating, desperation is no aphrodisiac in politics.

Oh, I don’t know, – I’m pretty excited !

stenwin77 on May 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Teddy’s seat wasn’t enough to shake them?

faraway on May 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Sure wish Ray Mabus would rename the future USS John Murtha anything else.

fiatboomer on May 6, 2010 at 4:10 PM

I donated to the RNCC, and gave more than ever to individual races. It’s time to take it back. For the children!

kirkill on May 6, 2010 at 4:13 PM

And to think, a totally fabricated poll was put up yesterday showing a big slip in Republican trending…

Let’s see, did that poll make it to the front page of HotAir? Did other right leaning sites bite on that poll?
Yes and Yes.

The Progressives are in free fall for good reason, their policies are designed to hurt everybody and everything we hold dear to our hearts. Their policies spare no one.

Keemo on May 6, 2010 at 4:14 PM

Sure wish Ray Mabus would rename the future USS John Murtha anything else. fiatboomer on May 6, 2010 at 4:10 PM

USS Barney Frank?

Careful whatcha wish for…

Akzed on May 6, 2010 at 4:15 PM

they better get some millions in there….spend some coinage folks… spend it all…don’t be shy, spend spend spend those accounts dry….

ted c on May 6, 2010 at 4:20 PM

It would be pudding time should PA-12 goes into the GOP win column. The Dems have NY-23 (for now), but the oncoming storm in November will have them all longing for elections of years past when they were able to maintain their grip on power.

While we are not in any danger of any complacency or diminishment of passions within the Tea Party movement, it is still going to be a white knuckler between now and the general election.

itzWicks on May 6, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Does anybody think Palin’s recent endorsement of Tim Burns had anything to do with this eventuality?

technopeasant on May 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM

No

bopbottle on May 6, 2010 at 4:29 PM

Both national parties have spent plenty of money on this race, with the NRCC outpacing the DCCC by almost $100,000.

So I guess the NRCC is doing a better job than the RNC?

Damn, it’s hard to keep this stuff straight. But, since the NRCC is focused on House and Senate elections, maybe we’ll make a good sweep in November after all.

BTW, I just looked it up, and Steele’s term will expire Jan. 2011. So we’ll have an opportunity to get some new blood in the RNC before the Presidential races get underway.

I don’t see any single seat as a “trend,” but taken together, this all gives me reason to be a bit more optimistic.

logis on May 6, 2010 at 4:33 PM

Does anybody think Palin’s recent endorsement of Tim Burns had anything to do with this eventuality?

technopeasant on May 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Bingo!! So far she’s pickin’ WINNERS.

Did you see who she just endorsed?

http://www.facebook.com/notes/sarah-palin/lets-shake-it-up-in-california/386510153434

She may have laid it on a bit thick here, but I guess Carley is the best bet to take down Boxer.

She’s building herself a hell of a Congress for when she takes office in 2013.

gary4205 on May 6, 2010 at 4:33 PM

‘Bout time the dems had some sleepless nights.

Kissmygrits on May 6, 2010 at 4:35 PM

good thing the donks passed hell care or they would be losing seats like 1994.

jukin on May 6, 2010 at 4:35 PM

the big question will be whether Democrats can actually hold districts with 2-1 advantages — and how much it will cost them to do so.

You gotta think NC earlier this week was their wake up call. Registered Dems outnumber GOP by over 800k, nearly two-to-one yet just as many GOP showed up to vote for Burr in a meaningless primary as the “hotly” contested primary on the Left. I can’t help but think that bodes ill for most Blue Dogs in the South and even poses a threat to “safe” seats like Murtha’s.

LastRick on May 6, 2010 at 4:37 PM

They are getting desperate in PA. They just gave Murtha’s seat on Appropriations to Patrick Murphy, jumping him over dozens of more senior members. It’s not going to help – in fact, it may hurt Murphy because he keeps claiming to be a fiscal conservative but now he’s going to have to vote on all these massive spending bills in committee.

rockmom on May 6, 2010 at 4:38 PM

[Sarah Palin's] building herself a hell of a Congress for when she takes office in 2013.
gary4205 on May 6, 2010 at 4:33 PM

I got a chuckle out of that.

But, when you think about it, that actually puts the last piece in the puzzle. The only thing she’s ever done that was questionable was endorsing McCain in the Primary. But if she ends up with a strong right wing PLUS McCain and his Seven Dwarfs in her pocket… She’ll be in a position to make Obama’s first year look like a lame duck session.

logis on May 6, 2010 at 4:42 PM

USS Barney Frank?

Careful whatcha wish for…

Akzed on May 6, 2010 at 4:15 PM

That would have to be a submarine…

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on May 6, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Kinda makes me not so embarrased to have been raised in Johnstown. But only jus a lil…….

gberez on May 6, 2010 at 4:44 PM

Oh, I don’t know, – I’m pretty excited !

stenwin77 on May 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Yeah, I was just gonna say…

Ohhhhhh, they mean for the desperate guy. They have drugs for that, Mr. Critz. If it lasts more than four hours, etc. etc. etc.

hoosiermama on May 6, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Someone anyone with real business experience and right thinking politics.

CWforFreedom on May 6, 2010 at 4:49 PM

Ah, the sweet, sweet smell of liberal desperation.

Liberals always smell funny. Still, I’ll take eau de desperation over eau de outrage–their usual scent of choice–any day.

Grace_is_sufficient on May 6, 2010 at 4:52 PM

That would have to be a submarine…

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on May 6, 2010 at 4:43 PM

It could also be a troop transport or cargo ship.

teke184 on May 6, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Burns can win the special election, but remember Bill Russell is running against him on the same day in the primary for the fall election. BIll Russell is a patriot, true conservative and dedicated to fiscal rollbacks and reversing the health care bill. I think Burns is an insider party hack.

So if you want to pump money into this race, go to http://www.russellbrigade.com

He gave murtha a run for his money in 08. At the last minute, murtha had to pump MILLIONS into the race because he was polling really close to Bill Russell, and Bill Russell was only allowed to campaign for about 90 days because he had to wait to get discharged from active duty (he retired).

I would much rather have a REAL outsider conservative in Congress than an outside closely tied to party hack squishy RINOs at the state level in PA.

karenhasfreedom on May 6, 2010 at 4:56 PM

I got a chuckle out of that.

But, when you think about it, that actually puts the last piece in the puzzle. The only thing she’s ever done that was questionable was endorsing McCain in the Primary. But if she ends up with a strong right wing PLUS McCain and his Seven Dwarfs in her pocket… She’ll be in a position to make Obama’s first year look like a lame duck session.

logis on May 6, 2010 at 4:42 PM

Sarah is very good at coalition building. She had to be in Alaska. After she took down the GOP up there she was persona non grata around there. Did you know the party refused to put her photo, as SITTING Republican Governor on their website? That’s how petty that bunch is.

Anyhow, before Obama, and his establishment of the Alaska Mafia © she did quite well working with the democrats to gte stuff done.

I like her idea of bi-partisanship though…reach across the aisle when it makes sense and benefits THE PEOPLE but forget it when it doesn’t make sense to.

I’m not a big McCain fan, in fact, I think his only true and meaningful legacy will be Sarah Palin. But for that, he deserves respect, and frankly, he will be better than Hayworth. Sarah has had some influence on him, I think forcing him to “come home” so to speak. I’m pretty sure he will support everything she wants to do.

I think it’s a given she will run, hell even Bristol is letting the cat out of the bag….and if she runs, she wins and wins big.

Having so many that will owe their seat to her endorsement certainly won’t hurt her in her first year.

gary4205 on May 6, 2010 at 5:04 PM

McCain hasn’t come home. He speaks “conservative” for a few months every 6 years, which just happen to coincide with his re-election needs.

karenhasfreedom on May 6, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Anyone heard anything out of Hawaii?

MAN! It would be SWEET to take both! That would put them all in serious meltdown mode. Think any of them would have the stomach to do amnesty or cap&tax or any of the other stupid ideas they thought they were going to shove through?

UnderstandingisPower on May 6, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Didn’t Murtha say his district was full of racists? So, of course the Republican will win.

/s

Kafir on May 6, 2010 at 5:22 PM

Does anybody think Palin’s recent endorsement of Tim Burns had anything to do with this eventuality?

technopeasant on May 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Yes.

She’s building herself a hell of a Congress for when she takes office in 2013.

gary4205 on May 6, 2010 at 4:33 PM

+1

I’ve been saying that for some time now. Her plans are playing out masterfully.

ornery_independent on May 6, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Oh, I don’t know, – I’m pretty excited !

stenwin77 on May 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM

You’ll definitely want to suit up first.

ElectricPhase on May 6, 2010 at 5:31 PM

Gee, you mean Pennsylvania wants a representative who knows how to disobey Pelosi and Obama?

I guess the democrats should not have nominated someone who has spent his political career kissing the butt of someone who spent his career kissing socialists butts.

doufree on May 6, 2010 at 5:34 PM

Well…

If you want to support Tim Burns, here is his website…

http://www.timburnsforcongress.com

I heard a radio spot by the Service Personnel Union lying about Burns’ position on “Taxing Everyone With a National Sales Tax of 23%” (Fair Tax) What they refuse to add is that would replace ALL Federal Taxes. Unlike the VAT TAX that would be added to everything else we pay. Something Pelosi supports, and by default, Mark Critz supports…

Also, I think Karen from above wants to really call Burns a RINO, but I can’t prove her assumption that Burns is one. His views seems to be pretty conversative and is a home grown candidate, unlike Russell. Also, it seems like the Russell campaign isn’t run quite as well as the Burns campaign.

Like I have said before, look at each candidate and choose for yourself. Either way, I will vote for the Repub. candidate in the fall…

Does anybody think Palin’s recent endorsement of Tim Burns had anything to do with this eventuality?

technopeasant on May 6, 2010 at 4:06 PM

No, but it is a nice addition. Remember, Democrat advantage here 2-1.

pennjazz on May 6, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Sure wish Ray Mabus would rename the future USS John Murtha anything else.

fiatboomer on May 6, 2010 at 4:10 PM

I am still angry we don’t have a ship named after Thomas Jefferson.

Holger on May 6, 2010 at 5:49 PM

I guess the democrats should not have nominated someone who has spent his political career kissing the butt of someone who spent his career kissing socialists butts.

doufree on May 6, 2010 at 5:34 PM

I think that point might be hurting Critz right now…Murtha brought home the pork. People realize that Critz really can’t do the same, because he would be a first termer with no power. Just wouldn’t be the same for those lifelong Dems here.

Really wish we would have Term Limits for Congress. They felt the need for Presidential Term Limits 60+ years ago, Why not Congress? Serve then get out before you’re too corrupted…lol

pennjazz on May 6, 2010 at 5:54 PM

USS Barney Frank?

Akzed on May 6, 2010 at 4:15 PM

That would have to be a submarine…

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on May 6, 2010 at 4:43 PM

How’s about this one:

http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/images/pinksub.jpg

SlimyBill on May 6, 2010 at 6:43 PM

Go get em, Mr. Burns!

OneConservative on May 6, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Didn’t Murtha say his district was full of racists? So, of course the Republican will win.

/s

Kafir on May 6, 2010 at 5:22 PM

Murtha’s district is filled with blue-haired (elderly) lifelong Democrats who may be rethinking their party loyalty as the implications of O-care on their Medicare come to light.

onlineanalyst on May 6, 2010 at 7:08 PM

heard a radio spot by the Service Personnel Union lying about Burns’ position on “Taxing Everyone With a National Sales Tax of 23%” (Fair Tax) What they refuse to add is that would replace ALL Federal Taxes. Unlike the VAT TAX that would be added to everything else we pay. Something Pelosi supports, and by default, Mark Critz

pennjazz: I heard that radio spot, too, and I was infuriated at its weasely misrepresentation. Critz is trying to frighten the blue-hairs on fixed incomes with that lie.

onlineanalyst on May 6, 2010 at 7:11 PM

It could also be a troop transport or cargo ship.

teke184 on May 6, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Have to be one with a stern loading ramp.

Aviator on May 6, 2010 at 7:20 PM

Dems starting to panic in (your district here)

Gawd, I wanna see so many of these!

(The one I really want is MN-5. LOL.)

Bruno Strozek on May 6, 2010 at 8:25 PM

Sent a check to Tim Burns a couple of days ago. I told him Sarah sent me.

BetseyRoss on May 6, 2010 at 9:28 PM

Where can I donate?

madmonkphotog on May 6, 2010 at 9:33 PM

That would have to be a submarine…

E L Frederick (Sniper One) on May 6, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Were you thinking of that old joke…What’s long and hard and full of seamen?

Red State State of Mind on May 6, 2010 at 9:33 PM

Where can I donate?

madmonkphotog on May 6, 2010 at 9:33 PM

http://www.timburnsforcongress.com

There you go!

pennjazz on May 6, 2010 at 9:40 PM

It’s a close race, is Burns ahead by the margin of fraud? Because you know that’s where a close race will head, Burns has to be ahead by enough that he can overcome the Dem’s margin of cheating.

AZfederalist on May 6, 2010 at 10:40 PM

Critz’ allegede opposition to Obamacare is meaningless. As long as dems have a majority in the House, Peelousy will be Speaker and no defunding or repeal legislation will get to the floor. Thus the only way to restrict or repeal this monstrosity is to vote out every democrap possible and replace them with conservative republicans. The feigned ‘good intentions’ of Critz will not have any effect and as we’ve seen, there’s no such thing as a conservative democrap anymore. If one is serious about undoing the liberal agenda, it’s repubs or the status quo.

eaglewingz08 on May 7, 2010 at 7:59 AM