Sunday, June 22, 2008

The House Races in Pennsylvania

Democrats enjoyed a lot of success in the midterm elections of 2006, and Pennsylvania may have been the location of their greatest triumphs. They picked up four House seats and a Senate seat in the Keystone State.

The Senate seat, formerly held by Rick Santorum, won't be up for re-election until 2012, but the House seats, of course, are up this year.

With their gains, the Democrats hold the lead in the Pennsylvania House delegation, 11-8, but James O'Toole reports in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that, even with seats in swing districts that Democrats must defend in this election cycle, the state's Democrats "still hope to pick off one or two more GOP veterans" in 2008.

Political analyst Larry Sabato is keeping an eye on six House races in Pennsylvania. Only two are currently held by the GOP (including one that's on the Democrats' wish list, according to the Post-Gazette), and Sabato is inclined to predict that both will remain in the Republican column.

But that's what he's saying right now — in June. We're still a little more than four months away from the election.

It's possible that, in the next couple of months, the state's governor, Ed Rendell, could be chosen to run with Barack Obama, which would shift the emphasis of the media attention.

Right now, a lot of the attention in Pennsylvania seems to be focused on the rematch in the 4th District in the western steel country of the state, where Democrat Jason Altmire defeated incumbent Republican Melissa Hart in 2006.

Hart, who held the seat for three terms, is running against Altmire again in 2008. Although the district is traditionally Democratic, Altmire's victory over Hart two years ago was considered something of an upset.

Lately, Altmire has been devoting his time and energy to the health care issue. He's been looking for a solution for high health care costs for nonprofit organizations. Sounds like a challenge in this economy.

We'll see how Altmire fares as the incumbent.


steelmagnolia said...

Jason Altmire is going to win this race because he's in touch with the needs and concerns of voters in his district. Sure, he's working on health care issues - this is his background - but he's doing a lot in other areas, too. No nonpartisan source that tracks House races thinks this a highly competitive race. The National Journal (, the Cook Report, the Rothenberg Report ( and other have placed this in the Democratic column for November.

tr said...

The political realities that put Jason Altmire in the house are still in place in '08. Melissa Hart was well known as a member of the club that did the bidding of Tom Delay and Santorum. She was an extreme rep in a moderate district.

Jason Altmire has worked hard to represent his district and his voting record bears this out.

PA-4 voters realize that they have a rep in line with their concerns and do not desire the return of a candidate that does the bidding of her political buddies.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Altmire is in line with my concerns. He agreed to let North Park lake be drained, so now I will have to live by a mud hole for years to come. He told me he was pro-life, but when my church tried to arrange something for the Right to Life March with him, he refused to return phone calls. He is going to go along with Obama raising capital gains tax to 40%. He clearly believes only evil rich people experience capital gains, but ignores that 95% of us save for retirement through 401(k)'s and even unions' pensions are funded through the stock market. He and his party is out of whack with the voters of the 4th District. I and my neighbors are voting for Hart.