It’s not quite a chorus, but it’s become at least a three-part harmony. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) joined Betty Sutton (D-OH) and Walt Minnick (D-ID) in demanding that Charlie Rangel resign from office in disgrace. Murphy’s statement came after the House Ethics Committee produced 13 charges of unethical behavior by the New York Democrat and former Ways and Means chair:
Congressman Patrick Murphy called on Charles Rangel to resign this morning as the former Ways and Means chairman was set to face the airing of ethical charges by a House jury.
Murphy, the 8th District Democrat, said “as the facts came out, it was pretty clear what his conduct was. I believe that it’s a discredit for the institution.”
So who does Murphy represent? PA-08 is a northern Pennsylvania district that borders New Jersey and contains plenty of rural voters — the kind of voters probably disinclined to view Rangel’s corruption lightly. The Cook report puts this district at a D+2, meaning that Murphy is almost certainly going to face a tough challenge from Mike Fitzpatrick, who won in PA-08 in 2004 but lost in the 2006 Democratic sweep.
That’s not terribly different from staunch Blue Dog Minnick, whose district is the most Republican in the US being represented by a Democrat, at R+18. He will face off against Raul Labrador in a year when the (D) label is already a millstone around the necks of incumbents in stronger districts. Betty Sutton comes from one of those stronger districts, OH-13, which is a D+5. Tom Ganley, a man who faced down the Mob in Cleveland and helped the FBI destroy them, will challenge Sutton for her seat in a state that Democrats see slipping away. Sutton wants to be seen as an anti-corruption crusader with her demand for Rangel’s resignation, but Ganley literally put his life on the line to fight corruption and crime.
It’s good to see some Democrats stick to their principles, even if they are primarily motivated by the footsteps of Republicans gaining on them. So far, though, it’s a pretty thin chorus singing a desperate tune.