Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pennsylvania: Hart, Gilhooley, Kats, Manion

On my "Pennsylvania" blog ( I write mainly about the many fascinating congressional races this year in the Keystone State. Make no mistake, Pennsylvania will be a major battleground, both in the presidential race and in the "down-ballot" contests.

In my own district, the 4th (west and north of Pittsburgh), former congresswoman Melissa Hart is fighting to regain her seat against Democrat Jason Altmire. He has the money but she has the momentum and the drive to win. Altmire is one of those "Blue Dog Democrats" (supposed conservatives) who votes liberal on all key issues. In the last election, he referred to John Murtha as "his campaign manager." Melissa Hart is a woman of great character and leadership abilities; I count her as a friend and an inspiration.

In the 17th District (Harrisburg, Hershey, Lebanon areas), Democrat Tim Holden, now in a thoroughly undistinguished 8th term, is facing a real Republican street-fighter. She's Toni Gilhooley, a 25-year-veteran of the Pennsylvania State Police. Toni is an underdog, but she has going for her the fact that McCain should carry this district by nearly 50,000 votes. Combined with her own fierce campaigning tactics, McCain might just help carry Mrs. Gilhooley to victory. This race is an "upset special." It's one that's personally important to me because I think the world of Toni.

In the 13th District (Montgomery County and Northeast Philly), the incumbent Democrat is Allyson Schwartz, a old-style programmatic liberal. Schwartz's opponent is Marina Kats, who emigrated to the U.S. many years ago from Russia. Marina is a successful lawyer, an entrepreneur and a patriot -- all qualities her opponent frankly lacks. As with the previous two races, this one is winnable if Marina campaigns tirelessly and effectively, which I fully expect her to do.

In the 8th District (Bucks County), the incumbent is Patrick Murphy, who won a very narrow victory in 2006. His opponent is 30-year-Marine veteran and businessman Tom Manion. One emotional factor underlying this contest is that Manion's son, Travis, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, was killed-in-action in Iraq. Cong. Murphy, an advocate of cutting-and-running was an early advocate of Barack Obama, but Hillary Clinton won the district by a huge margin. If Manion can attract a good chunk of those Hillary supporters, he could surprise the pundits and pull off a victory.

Hart, Gilhooley, Kats, and Manion: These aren't the only congressional races in Pennsylvania, but they are four important ones. A major key to unseating a Democrat incumbent is to make the decision to do everything necessary to win. The four candidates I've mentioned have made that decision. (I write about these four races and others on my Pennsylvania blog.)

1 comment:

Dr. Kerry said...

You can find out much more information about Marina Kats at any of my blog sites:



Dr. Kerry