Tags: pennsylvania | tim murphy | kim ward

Open Pa. Seat Likely to Remain Republican

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Rep. Tim Murphy resigned his House seat on Oct. 6. (AP)

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Friday, 06 October 2017 08:22 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Hours after embattled Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., resigned his House seat on Thursday, both parties began jockeying for the position that will result in a special election likely to be held the same day as the Pennsylvania primary next May.

Despite the scandal that forced the Pennsylvania congressman to relinquish the seat he has held for 15 years, Republican operatives in the Keystone State told Newsmax they felt certain of holding the 18th District.

The congressman’s resignation came days after revelations that Murphy — husband, father, and strongly pro-lifer — encouraged a lover half his age to abort a pregnancy.

Murphy reportedly felt he could wait out the storm resulting from the scandal. But Republican leaders in the House maintained their modern policy of leaning on any in their ranks who is linked to scandal to resign. Just as it was with former Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., when he was arrested for cocaine possession in 2014, the consensus among House GOP leaders was that Murphy had to go.

So on Thursday, Oct. 6, he submitted his resignation, which will take effect Oct. 21.

As Murphy was making preparations for his exit from Congress, conservative state Sen. Kim Ward was laying the groundwork for a bid to succeed him. A former Westmoreland County supervisor and campaign consultant by trade, Ward was the west Pennsylvania coordinator for George W. Bush’s re-election bid in 2004 and had the same assignment for then-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., in 2006.

“Kim is easily 1 of the 10 most conservative senators we have out all 34 Republicans in the Senate," Lowman Henry, president of the conservative Lincoln Institute, told me. “She’d be an upgrade over the RINO [Republican in name only] Murphy, for sure.”

The nominee for the special election will be selected in a special nominating convention set up by the Republican State Committee with delegates chosen by the respective county party leaders. According to Henry, most of the party leaders are conservative and this should favor Ward.

The candidate of the more moderate GOP establishment is sure to be state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, an Iraqi war veteran who comes from the more Democratic part of the district in Allegheny County.

Also mentioned is state Rep. Rick Saccone, a strong conservative who has been exploring a U.S. Senate race but whose efforts have drawn little attention.

Democrats signaled they will try to recruit a first-rate candidate for the special election. Already Pam Iovino, a veteran, is seeking the Democratic nomination, but some “name” contenders may now join her. Among those mentioned are Matt Smith, president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and State Rep. Dan Miller.

Republicans, however, confidently point out Trump won the district by 20 percentage points in 2016, and Mitt Romney by 17 percentage points in 2012. Democrats did not even field an opponent to Murphy in 2016.

“I don’t think Democrats can win,” said Franklin and Marshall University professor G. Terry Madonna, the premier pollster in Pennsylvania. “But in this crazy environment, who can tell?”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Hours after embattled Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., resigned his House seat on Thursday, both parties began jockeying for the position that will result in a special election likely to be held the same day as the Pennsylvania primary next May.
pennsylvania, tim murphy, kim ward
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2017-22-06
Friday, 06 October 2017 08:22 AM
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