Bad News for Dems: Murtha Seat Now a 'Toss-Up'

Party faces yet another battleground
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2010 10:55 AM CST
Bad News for Dems: Murtha Seat Now a 'Toss-Up'
Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

John Murtha’s death has left Democrats with another fight on their hands. Last night the Cook Political Report changed its rating of the race to “toss-up,” one of 50 Democratic-held seats bearing that rating. Voting isn’t far off either; Ed Rendell has 10 days to schedule a special election, which will have to happen within 60 days of that. The most likely date is May 18, during Pennsylvania’s state primary.

“It’s a much more difficult political equation without John Murtha in that seat,” the state party chairman tells Politico. Murtha’s reputation for bringing home the pork kept him in power, but the district was the only one in the country to flip from voting Kerry in 2004 to McCain in 2008. “The voters there are more pro-life, pro-gun and patriotic, but need help from the government” economically, explained one analyst. “You could not categorically rule out a Republican.” (More John Murtha stories.)

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