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Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District, 2012 Election Recap

by: RockRibbedR

Sun Feb 17, 2013 at 21:39:19 PM EST


I'm a Pennsylvania voter and a college student, and this is the second of an ongoing series of articles about Pennsylvania's Congressional districts. For the first installment, an analysis of the 2012 election for Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional district, see here: http://www.redracinghorses.com...

To email me with any questions, email wfdeacons12 @ gmail.com (no spaces)

For my data set, see here:  https://docs.google.com/spread...

Bucks County History


     Bucks County, with its open space preservation laws and its strong schools, has always been an attractive place to raise a family or to retire. New Jersey residents seeking a better tax climate frequently settle in Bucks County. Bucks, along with Chester County, has historically been Southeastern Pennsylvania's exurban "horse country" county. With a median household income of $70,617, Bucks, outside of lower Bucks, is generally affluent and highly educated. Not all of Bucks is thoroughly affluent, with the lower third of the county being characterized by Levittown, America's first massive suburban housing development. Levittown was built to accommodate the population growth of Lower Bucks thanks to its industrial prowess, and its largely working class, lower middle income population is indicative of much of lower Bucks. While Lower Bucks is densely populated, middle and upper Bucks are protected by land usage restrictions and other preservation laws that have come to be very important in county politics. Highly affluent Upper Makefield Township and the outskirts of the Newtown area, in general, resist the kind of development that made Lower Bucks so densely populated.

     Bucks, along with the other three suburban counties on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware Valley, was traditionally a Republican stronghold. While Lower Bucks, dominated by union influence, has traditionally been Democratic, Republicans have always dominated county politics on a local and statewide level. Bucks County voted about four points to the right of the nation in the 1980 and 1984 Presidential elections and about seven points to the right of the nation in the 1988 Presidential election. The right Republicans, ones who could connect with Lower Bucks' working class, heavily Irish Catholic population, could even squeeze out votes from Lower Bucks. Even if a Republican wasn't a great fit for Lower Bucks, middle and upper Bucks provided more than enough votes to give Republicans a strong victory countywide. Middle and Upper Bucks have traditionally had a very Christian population but one with a pacifist streak.

     However, Demographic changes that have magnified since the early 1990s have stripped Bucks of its historical position as a Republican stronghold. With minority growth in the borough of Bristol, Bristol Township, and Bensalem Township, Morrisville, and Falls Township, Lower Bucks has become harder for Republicans to win crossover votes in the lower third of the county. Additionally, middle aged Jews who had the money to leave Northeast Philadelphia, or their wealthy college graduate children, largely settled in middle Bucks around the Newtown or Doylestown areas.

     These demographic changes, in conjunction to the Republican Party's conservative turn in the 90s, have made Bucks into a highly competitive county on the Presidential level and a good bellwether, within a point or two, of how the country will vote for President. A fiscally conservative Republican who downplays the important of social issues, like Pat Toomey or Mitt Romney, can still perform quite well in Bucks in a federal election. Bucks even voted about a point and a half to the right of the country in 2012 after it voted about half a point to the left of the country in the 2008 Presidential election. Romney even visited Bucks and held a rally with an audience of around ~50,000 people, because he felt he had potential to win it. While Romney only got to 48.8%, he likely would have won it with a better national climate. Regardless, Republicans hold all but one of the countywide offices in Bucks County and dominate local politics in most of its municipalities.

RockRibbedR :: Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District, 2012 Election Recap

Bucks County and the 8th Congressional District


     Due to its historically having just under the population necessary for a Congressional district, Bucks has traditionally dominated the 8th Congressional district. People from Bucks County have a strong attachment to it. People from Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties don't tend to identify themselves with their county as strongly as people from Bucks do. Therefore, Bucks has always been kept whole while the other counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania are commonly sliced and diced in Congressional redistricting. Bucks' Congressional district has trende left in recent years, but almost always has elected a Republican to Congress. Congressman Jim Greenwood was extremely popular in Bucks, and won in blowout fashion throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Due to his popularity in Bucks County, Republicans decided to give him a strongly Democratic and heavily minority slice of Montgomery County in the 2001 redistricting plan and also gave him a Democratic leaning and working class slice of Northeast Philadelphia in an attempt to make the once-Republican Montgomery County-based 13th Congressional district winnable once again.

     When Jim Greenwood unexpectedly announced his retirement in July of 2004, Bucks County Republicans nominated attorney and County Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick of Levittown for the 2004 Congressional election. Fitzpatrick was a good fit for Lower Bucks with his Catholic background, his pro-life position on abortion, and his relatively friendliness towards the unions that dominate Lower Bucks. Bucks County Republicans have always been far more organized than Bucks County Democrats, and in the 2004 election, Fitzpatrick won 55-44 against a weak opponent.

     2006, however, was a different animal for Fitzpatrick. Young attorney and Army veteran Patrick Murphy Fitzpatrick, who moved to Bristol to run, proved a well-funded and formidable opponent for Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick's 2004 strength was partially based upon his connecting well with lower Bucks and performing fairly strongly in Northeastern Philadelphia but also had to do with his being a Republican in a county with a well-organized Republican machine. Fitzpatrick and Murphy battled vigorously in a negative race, and both were well funded. While Fitzpatrick had slight issues with connecting with middle and upper Bucks, seeing as the largely pro-choice, socially moderate and generally anti-union Republican electorate wasn't his bread and butter constituency, the Philadelphia Inquirer endorsed Fitzpatrick narrowly won Bucks County in November. However, demographic changes in Northeast Philadelphia and the worst year for Republicans in a century in Pennsylvania (and an awful year nationwide) caused Fitzpatrick to lose the blue collar slice of Northeast Philadelphia in his district. Fitzpatrick, of course, lost the heavily Democratic slice of Willow Grove, Montgomery County in his district and the once safe 8th district had booted its Republican incumbent.

     Fitzpatrick, supposedly more interested in Bucks County issues than federal issues, decided to run for State Rep in 2008. However, he withdrew his bid after a family member had some serious health issues. Soon thereafter, in June of 2008, Fitzpatrick was diagnosed with colon cancer. After winning his bout with prostate cancer, Fitzpatrick looked for a way to return to public service.

     In January of 2010, Fitzpatrick announced that he would run for his old House seat. Fitzpatrick and Murphy were, once again, both well-funded and campaigned hard. However, 2010 was a far different year than 2008 and Fitzpatrick won by 7%, handily carrying Bucks County.

Redistricting and the 2012 Election for PA-08


      While the 8th district had given a better showing to George W. Bush in 2004 and John McCain in 2008 than the Republican-held 6th and 7th districts had, the tradition of keeping Bucks County together prevented Republicans from changing its partisan composition too much in redistricting. If Republicans had split much of Lower Bucks off and replaced it with swingy Montgomery County precincts and Republican precincts in Northeast Philadelphia, the district could have been moved ~3 points to the right. However, the district was simply moved one point to the right when it pulled out of Philadelphia and Willow Grove and added about 100,000 upper Montgomery County residents in a heavily Republican slice of the county in the Souderton area.

     Because the 8th district was suddenly the most Democratic in the region by Cook Partisan Vote Index, and because Fitzpatrick had lost before, Democrats went after Fitzpatrick hard in 2012. Democrats nominated progressive attorney Kathryn Boockvar (D-Doylestown), a two-time losing candidate (she lost a county-wide race for Register of Wills in 2007 and lost a statewide race for a judgeship on the Commonwealth Court in 2011). Boockvar, a pro-choice activist, was decidedly a bad fit for Lower Bucks Democrats. Fitzpatrick, with his moderately pro-union stance and his pro-life views, wasn't necessarily a great fit for Middle and Upper Bucks but his moderately fiscally conservative views were a decidedly better fit for those parts of Bucks and for upper Montgomery County than the ultra liberal Boockvar was. Fitzpatrick also won endorsements from the National Wildlife Federation and ConservAmerica thanks to his pro-land preservation stances and his work on behalf of the Endangered Species Act. Fitzpatrick was slightly more fiscally conservative in his 2010 term than in his 2006 term, and his ratings from union groups were slightly lower. Fitzpatrick worked hard in his '10 terms to build a strong constituent services operation. Fitzpatrick had frequent meetings with physicians in the district, attended as many business openings as possible, and held many roundtable discussions and town halls around the district. Republicans even went hard after Boockvar for ties to Mumia Abu-Jamal, a convicted cop killer, because of legal work her husband had performed back in the 1990s and early 2000s. Though the DCCC claimed that the Republicans' antics were a sign of desperation, and even though the Inquirer backed Boockvar, Fitzpatrick destroyed Boockvar by a margin of nearly 14 points in November. At the same time, Mitt Romney won the district by 204 votes, the closest Presidential election margin in any Congressional district. Overall, Fitzpatrick ran 6.58% ahead of Romney districtwide.

Below is a map that shows how Mitt Romney performed in PA-08 in 2012.

Color Key:
Navy: 63+% Obama
Blue: 57-63% Obama
Dodger blue: 52-57% Obama
Sky blue: 50-52% Obama
Salmon: 50-52% Romney
Red: 52-57% Romney
Crimson: 57-63% Romney
Reddish Brown: 63+% Romney

 photo BucksRomneyObama12_zps4bb99d5e.png

Below is a map that shows how Mike Fitzpatrick performed in PA-08 in 2012.

Color Key:
Navy: 63+% Boockvar
Blue: 58-63% Boockvar
Dodger blue: 53-58% Boockvar
Sky blue: 50-53% Boockvar
Salmon: 50-53% Fitzpatrick
Red: 53-58% Fitzpatrick
Crimson: 58-63% Fitzpatrick
Reddish Brown: 63+% Fitzpatrick

 photo BucksFitzpatrickBoockvar12_zpsad824ddc.png

Below is a map that shows how much Fitzpatrick overperformed Romney in each municipality in the 8th district in 2012.

Color Key:
2-4 ahead: Dodger blue
4-6.56 ahead: Powder blue
6.56-10 ahead: Salmon
10-12 ahead: Brick

 photo Fitzpatrick-Romney_zpscf161ff7.png

2012 8th District Election Analysis


     Mike Fitzpatrick ran extraordinarily well in Lower Bucks, even winning Bensalem Township and running nearly 12 points ahead in parts of the area. He even ran 5.78 points ahead of Romney in the new Montgomery County slice of the 8th district. Fitzpatrick's worst performances, though, were in the wealthiest portions of Bucks County. Fitzpatrick, who's anti-gay marriage and anti-civil unions, only ran 2 points ahead of Romney in New Hope and 3 points ahead in Solebury Township, two municipalities with a large, affluent gay populations centered in New Hope. Fitzpatrick also only ran 2.51 and 2.53 points ahead of Romney in highly affluent Upper Makefield Township, 2.53 points ahead in affluent Wrightstown Township, and 3.20% and 3.28% respectively in Doylestown Township and the borough of Doylestown. While Doylestown was Boockvar's affluent base, the former two townships are heavily wealthy (more so in Upper Makefield) and swung hard towards Mitt Romney in respect to John McCain's performance in 2008. Fitzpatrick performed well in the rural and exurban portions of the district in Upper Bucks, running just behind or just ahead of his district average overperformance of 6.56%.

Conclusions


     Mike Fitzpatrick did well enough in both blue collar Lower Bucks and generally white collar Middle/Upper Bucks that he should feel relatively comfortable about the safety of his hold on the seat. At this point, Bucks Democrats, who hold none of the four Bucks County Senate distrits and only three of its State House seats, have such a weak bench in Bucks that there is no one who comes to mind easily who could upend the extremely popular Fitzpatrick. While Fitzpatrick is conceivably safe, if he honors his three-term term limit pledge, Bucks County Republicans would have a dilema on their hands in the event of a Fitzpatrick retirement. Would it be better to nominate someone like Fitzpatrick with moderate appeal in Middle/Upper Bucks and plenty of appeal in Lower Bucks, or would it be better to nominate a Jim Gerlach-style moderate conservative with great appeal in Middle/Upper Bucks and no appeal in Lower Bucks?

     That all being said, Republicans' hold on the 8th district looks promising, and the GOP should hold it through the decade barring a Democratic wave year and a poor GOP candidate.

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Awesome as usual


25, Male, R, NY-10

Again, fantastic!
If Fitzy does choose to retire in 2014, I suppose Doylestown State Senator Chuck McIlhinney, who chaired the Senate Committee that drew the map could always give it a go. He would, of course, be more in the mold of Jim Greenwood in that he's more appealing to Upper Bucks Republicans, but given the population trends in Lower Bucks, going with the Upper Bucks strategy seems like the best decision in the long-term.

Lifelong Republican, TX-17

Very nice
And I must say props for remembering the song.

I keep meaning to do one of these for WV-3 but haven't found the time yet... How you rattle off so many is amazing.

R - MD-7


Thanks!
Well, I'm a pretty efficient person. Tonight, Haverford had its biannual plenary, which is like a constitutional convention of sorts for our school's 100+ year old honor code. There's a quorum so I just sat there and wrote this. I get great grades and do all of my work but I just carve out a little time here and there to do data work and write these when I have a block of time that wouldn't be conductive to doing homework but there'd be nothing much else to do.

[ Parent ]
First, a correction
Great map. Kathy Boockvar was never a Doylestown Township Supervisor. You're thinking of Cynthia Philo, an incumbent Supervisor who was up for reelection in 2011. A month before election day 2011, she announced interest in running for Congress the following year. Her constituents promptly voter her out a few weeks later.

I can tell you that Kathy Boockvar ran twice for office before: in 2007 for countywide office as Register of Wills; and in 2011 for statewide office as as a Commonwealth Court Judge. In both races, she lost Bucks County 55% - 45%.

Why in the world anyone thought she was a viable candidate for Congress in 2012 is beyond me. She lost both her previous races & failed to carry Bucks County both times. The 2012 Congressional race margin was 56.6% - 43.4% in favor of Fitzpatrick. She didn't even get to 45% again, on her third time facing the same voters, with Obama on the ballot.

34, Libertarian leaning D, living in PA-7
Originally from PA-4 (the old PA-17)


Well Done
Very comprehensive. You've certainly learned a lot. Growing up, "horse country" referred to Upper Montgomery county, not Bucks or Chester. If you go out to places like Blue Bell you'll find developments built on old horse farms with names like "Blue Bell Woods."

I believe Fitzpatrick being a county commissioner really helped him. Down and dirty retail politics really go over well in Bucks County. Fitzpatrick would give out his cell phone number to people.

I spent a day filming there in 2008. Tom Manion was the nominee. He was a businessman and former marine. I found him fairly impressive. But that was a tough year for the GOP.

I returned again for a few days in 2010, going to Fitzpatrick's campaign headquarters, as well as the Bucks County GOP headquarters, and an additional call center. They were very organized, with the phone manned by at least a dozen people in three hour shifts for 12 hours a day. They were quite motivated. Fitzpatrick was very down to earth and very aware of why Republicans had lost the House. I met a Tea Party organizer, who was very skeptical of Fitzpatrick and Gerlach and their born again fiscal conservatism.  

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2


Second, a phenomial map and great data!
You did a bang up job here. I really enjoyed the data from Lower Bucks.

34, Libertarian leaning D, living in PA-7
Originally from PA-4 (the old PA-17)


Bucks County Commissioners
Bucks County has had a history of promoting their County Commissioners in the last few decades.

In 1994, County Commissioner Mark Schweiker was Tom Ridge's running mate, winning the race for Lieutenant Governor. Schweiker was replaced as Commissioner by Mike Fitzpatrick.

In 2004, County Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick replaced Jim Greenwood on the ballot for Congress after the primary election. (Greenwood had decided to retire that summer). Fitzpatrick was elected to Congress & replaced with Jim Cawley.

In 2010, County Commissioner Jim Cawley was Tom Corbett's running mate, winning the race for Lieutenant Governor. Cawley was replaced as Commissioner by Rob Loughery.

We don't yet know what the future holds for Rob Loughery.

34, Libertarian leaning D, living in PA-7
Originally from PA-4 (the old PA-17)


Mike
If you were going to try to find the strongest Dem to go for PA-08, whom would you pick?

I really like Loughery on the GOP side if Fitzpatrick steps down.


[ Parent ]
Reply
First...Loughery is still growing on his constituents. He was not well known county wide before January 2011. Some were skeptical of him at first, but that seems to be simmering down now.

It will take a little more time before he is ready to move up - but - with Fitzpatrick term limiting himself in 2016, I could see Loughery announcing for Congress in early 2016. He will be on the ballot for reelection as Commissioner in November 2015.

The best Democrat to take on Fitzpatrick in 2012 was...Patrick Murphy! But he had this grand idea in his head about running for something higher, and got creamed in the Attorney General primary. I am not saying I think he would have definitely beaten Fitzpatrick in 2012, but I think it would have been a lot closer than what Bookvar did.

The problem is, now he's damaged goods in a general election. I could see him salvaging himself in a statewide Lieutenant Governor primary, or even running for office in Montgomery County someday. But that's about it.

Sidenote: Patrick Murphy claims he did not run for Congress in 2012 for a really unusual reason...After 2006 & 2010, he decided to never run against another "Irish" candidate again. I'm not Irish, but that's one of the craziest things I've ever heard in my lifetime of politics.

My ideal Dem candidate for 2014 would be former County Commissioner (and former Republican) Andy Warren, or perhaps a political unknown. Murphy himself was an unknown in 2006, but was able to run on a national issue (Iraq War / Iraq War Vet). I'm hard pressed to think of a national issue someone could run on like this, though.

34, Libertarian leaning D, living in PA-7
Originally from PA-4 (the old PA-17)


[ Parent ]
Kane didn't "cream" Murphy
He garnered 47% of the vote in the primary. That's surely underwhelming, but it's not a crushing defeat. Given that Kane had a massive war chest (thanks to executive husband) and an endorsement from Clinton (also thanks to her husband who donated to Hillary in '08), Murphy was actually the underdog. He didn't start the race as one; the Democratic establishment thought it was his race to lose. However, since AG is too far down the ballot for voters to know much about the candidates running for it, Kane's ads outshadowed Murphy's compelling bio and political acumen.

He shouldn't run in 2014; Fitzpatrick would likely beat him by 5 or so points. However, I think you're right that an LG candidacy is a good fit for Murphy. I wonder if he'll get a call from Schwartz sometime soon.

Ryan/Kasich 2016


[ Parent ]
No
Why would Allyson Schwartz pick an LG from SEPA?

[ Parent ]
Because she has no choice?
Shotgun wedding, remember.

R - MD-7

[ Parent ]
Well aware
I wonder if he'll get a call from Schwartz sometime soon.

What I meant by my response to "AynRandRepublican" is that Schwartz would never try to anoint a Lt. Gov from SEPA through encouraging that candidate to enter and then endorsing the candidate because she knows she'd be best off with a candidate from the T of SWPA.

I could be wrong and she could get cocky, but she'd be best off trying to get someone from the T or SWPA who could connect to working class Dems from outside the Delaware Valley.


[ Parent ]
Good point
Are there any first-tier Democrats in the T?

Unlike Altmire, I don't think Critz snagged a lobbying gig yet. Maybe he could be help her in SWPA. I hoped she doesn't entice him to run; the guy's a real ass. But they likely have a good rapport, as she probably monitored his fledgling house bid once and awhile while she headed DCCC recruitment. Also, Blue Dogs notwithstanding, the Dem caucus was rooting for Critz in the primary, so there may be some residual good will there

Ryan/Kasich 2016


[ Parent ]
Critz
Critz really is a grade-A jerk, but he could be a decent pick. She'd best keep him away from Lower Merion, though, haha. As I sit here in a coffe shop off of Lancaster Avenue in Lower Merion, I can't imagine Critz being all that good of a fit for the white progressives that populate this area.

Maybe we could get State Senator John Wozniak to run. He almost lost his Cambria/Somerset/Clearfield County-based, Republican trending State Senate seat in 2012. If he were to somehow be sworn in as Lt. Gov in 2014, his seat would end up ours easily. Rumor has it he hits the bars a little too often, so perhaps he'd be a disappointing candidate for their side. Wouldn't that be grand for us?


[ Parent ]
Schwartz
I am thinking she gets a state legislator, but this is a moot discussion.  Rarely do candidates run as tickets on the Democratic side.  That is more of a Republican idea in Pennsylvania.  

28, Republican, PA-6

[ Parent ]
Does she need someone from SWPA to win?


[ Parent ]
Would be highly unusual
Historically speaking, the Governor / Lt. Governor tickets have had regional diversity.  There has not been a ticket in the post-war era that has won without geographic diversity.  

28, Republican, PA-6

[ Parent ]
Everyone hates Philadelphia
Winning statewide from Philadelphia is hard because the area is so disliked outside of the Delaware Valley. Of course people in the Delaware Valley are only vaguely aware the rest of the state exists. So it all works out. If you're a superstar like Ed Rendell you can overcome that. But besides him, Milton Shapp is the only governor from the area elected in over 100 years.

If Schwartz runs, she'll need all she can muster to overcome that. She needs a good labor Democrat from the Pennsylvania heartland.

R, CA-37; hometown: PA-2


[ Parent ]
Yep
Corbett is somewhat cozy with the private sector unions while she has little relationship with them.

28, Republican, PA-6

[ Parent ]
Critz
Critz is a real nasty one. Not just in terms of politics but as a person himself. He wrote many inappropriate tweets and said things that are just plain disgusting, and have no place in the political realm. As a Democrat, I hope he goes away and stays away. He's pond scum, in my opinion.

Additionally, I could never figure out why any Democrats preferred him over Altmire. Altmire had the better voting record. Some key examples here:

Jason Altmire supported a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution; federal funding for Planned Parenthood; the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill; and supported repealing the "don't ask don't tell" policy on gays in the military. Mark Critz took opposite positions on every single one of these issues.

34, Libertarian leaning D, living in PA-7
Originally from PA-4 (the old PA-17)


[ Parent ]
I don't know Fritz's or Altmire's record...
...but why would Democrat's consider support for a BBA a good thing? Unless there was a typo and Critz actually supports it while Altmire doesn't.  

[ Parent ]
Balanced Budget Amendment
66% of Democrats favor a balanced budget amendment.

I'm quite confident Democratic support would be even higher if the idea wasn't highly associated with Republicans. The main partisan difference is how the budget should be balanced, not whether the budget should be balanced.

Democrat, NC-11


[ Parent ]
difference
Democrats favor a BBA in concept, but nobody will base their primary votes on it.  In the GOP some voters will.

Age 21, CA-18 (home), CA-13 (college)
politicohen.com.
Idiosyncratic, pro-establishment. Liberal but not progressive.  For the poor, the children, the planet, and the rule of law.

Berkeley Class of 2015.


[ Parent ]
It speaks to how effective the Gerrymander was
People usually focus on the mess that is SEPA, but all 3 congressman won by enough of a margin that they probably would have carried much cleaner districts.

The real beauty was how it beat the two Democrats (Holden and Altmire) that Republicans couldn't beat in the general elections, by putting them in hostile primaries.  Pennsylvania went from a state with 3 Democrats in McCain districts to none, and Republicans only had to beat 1 Democrat to do it.

If Holden had won his primary, he'd easily be the Democrat's strongest candidate.

23, Libertarian Republican CA-18

Liberals dream things that never were and ask why not.  Conservatives shout back "Because it won't work"


[ Parent ]
Holden > Cartwright
Why do you consider getting Holden replaced by someone to his left (and a trial lawyer to boot) a success?  Maybe you could argue it had to be done, but it's not something to gloat over.  I'd much rather have Holden still around, and it's not like they needed to shore up Marino, Barletta, and Dent quite that much.  

[ Parent ]
holden was threat
For statewide office but that's done.

[ Parent ]
^said no one ever.
Seriously, Holden would have had NO chance at winning a statewide primary if a competent candidate from SEPA or SWPA ran. His old district had a really small slice of the state's Democratic primary electorate.

[ Parent ]
He be an ideal LG, but not under PA's system
If the gubernatorial nominee could pick his running mate (as in, for example, New Jersey), Holden would be a perfect fit for Schwartz. But he'd never make it through a primary to be shotgun married to her.  

[ Parent ]
Agreed
He's not an ideal statewide candidate, though, because he'd have a really hard time winning a primary. Can you imagine pro-fracking Tim Holden campaigning in the living room of a latte liberal Bala Cynwyd Democratic super-fundraiser type in front of a bunch of NPR-loving, Main Line progressives wearing Al Franken-style glasses? I sure as hell can't. Those types dictate the money race.

[ Parent ]
If PA had a Dem boss
They'd grease things for Holden to run for Governor. Look at Bob Casey's statewide performance. Best D candidate is going to be a guy who gets votes in small town PA.  If D's insist on thinking SEPA is the whole Commonwealth they are throwing votes to the GOP  

[ Parent ]
"said no one ever"
lol! A truer statement has never been spoken on this site. Holden would have never considered statewide office in the past. He was content to be the Dean of the Congressional Delegation & do what he could for his district.

I will disagree with a few of the posters here & say I could see him attempting statewide office now. He would probably have to take the path of Casey & get a cleared primary field, or run a 1 on 1 race against a far left candidate.

Don't forget that, even while SEPA votes heavily Democrat, there's still a ton of registered Republicans here, who cannot vote in the D primary. The conservadems who vote R constantly in places like Westmoreland County are the ones who are still registered D.

As always, just my opinion.

34, Libertarian leaning D, living in PA-7
Originally from PA-4 (the old PA-17)


[ Parent ]
Agree
The tangled SEPA mess really is messier than it needs to be.  The beauty is how these districts were drawn to cut up the Democratic primary electorates.

28, Republican, PA-6

[ Parent ]
I think
The PA bosses (both political and union) backed Critz to the hilt.  They much preferred Critz to Altmire, for whatever reason they didn't trust Altmire, and they saw Critz as the heir to super-crook John Murtha.  


Christie 2016  

[ Parent ]
I agree
The party bosses and big wigs backed Critz, which I found annoying. Altmire had the better voting record for a Democrat. I often wonder if Altmire would have won again in the 2012 General Election, but that's a discussion for another time, perhaps if RockRibbedR makes a diary for that district.

34, Libertarian leaning D, living in PA-7
Originally from PA-4 (the old PA-17)


[ Parent ]
Response to aynrandrepublican
Again, my apologies for not replying sooner, I did a lot of traveling the last few days.

When I said Kane "creamed" Murphy, I didn't necessarily mean to imply it was a blowout. What I really meant was that Murphy entered the race thinking he had the primary locked up. In his mind, there was no way he would lose the primary, let alone lose to a political unknown. He got a spanking.

RockRibbedR asked me directly who the best candidate would have been in 2012. I honestly think that was Murphy. Yes, Murphy might have lost again. But, there really is no one else living in the district that I know of that would have made the race more competitive. Unfortunately, because he tried to move "up the ladder" and got spanked, he is now viewed as damaged goods.

Like you, I would not recommend he run against Fitzpatrick in 2014. I do think he could make an attractive LG candidate, paired up with someone not from SEPA. Running him with Schwartz would be a terrible idea.

Schwartz would be smart to recruit a candidate for LG who is Pro-Life, has good name recognition, and good at attracting votes outside of SEPA. Someone like...Tim Holden or Jack Wagner.

34, Libertarian leaning D, living in PA-7
Originally from PA-4 (the old PA-17)


[ Parent ]
Democrats
There are some real issues they face in this district.  Clearly they need to run a candidate who can counter Fitzpatrick's appeal in Lower Bucks.  They simply are not going to win this district with a candidate from Upper and Lower Bucks.  There are not a lot of crossover voters in the region and it appears voters are pretty well hardened in their partisan patterns.

In addition, the Democrats simply don't have the bench to win these races.  The Republicans have a huge bench here.  In some respects, this is based on PVI the Democrats best pickup opprotunity, but in reality, it is one of their worst.

28, Republican, PA-6


Yup
It's amazing to consider that while Bucks voted for every Democrat for President since 1992, voted for Democratic Congressman from 1982-1990, and again in 2008, and voted for multiple other Democrats in statewide races in the last 20-30 years, that the Dem bench in this county is quite pathetic. They hold no State Senate seats in the County, haven't controlled the County Commission since late 1987, and really have no "face" of their party. They need to work harder at building their bench from the ground up. I am quite surprised that didn't happen much in the last 10-12 years.

34, Libertarian leaning D, living in PA-7
Originally from PA-4 (the old PA-17)


[ Parent ]
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