PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, 10:30 a.m.
In Pennsylvania, Gov. Ed Rendell seems assured of a second term in office, and itís likely that state treasurer Bob Casey Jr. will replace Rick Santorum in the senate. But there are a number of other races worth watching, several of which are key for Democrats in their quest to retake the house.
Among these are three competitive congressional races in the Philadelphia suburbs. In the 7th district, former admiral Joe Sestak takes on long-time incumbent Republican Curt Weldon, whoís been in office for 20 years and has gotten notice recently for odd theories on 9/11 and the relationship between his congressional office and his lobbyist/consulting daughter, whose offices were recently raided by the FBI. Sestak got a lot of sympathy earlier in the campaign when Weldon suggested that Sestak switch his then 4 year-old daughterís ongoing treatment for a brain tumor from a hospital in Virginia to one in Pennsylvania.
In the 6th congressional race, Lois Murphy is taking her second crack at Rep. Jim Gerlach, who is in his 2nd term of office. He won 51/49 in 2004, and polls show the race close again. Both sides have been slinging mud for much of the campaign. Gerlach has ties to the Jack Abramoff that Murphy has been calling attention to. In 2004, the national Republican party sent out ads associating Murphy with the Taliban based on the support she received from MoveOn.org.
The 8th congressional district pits first term incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick against Iraqi war veteran Patrick Murphy. This one is also close, although Fitzpatrick is thought to have a slight, very slight, edge. (Full disclosure: I have been a Murphy supporter and have contributed to his campaign.) Fitzpatrick has tried to paint Murphy, whose childhood home is now just outside the district boundary, as a carpetbagger. Murphy has done his best to make the election a referendum on President Bush.
Farther north, it looks like Democrat Chris Carney will defeat Rep. Don Sherwood, who has admitted a multi-year extramarital affair but denied the womanís claims that he tried to choke her. Carney, a veteran, Pentagon analyst, and college professor, has made values and defense the cornerstones of his campaign. The 10th district tends to vote conservative, but in this case that could include voting for a Democrat.
On the state level, there was a scandal in the summer of 2005 when the state legislature voted itself a sizeable pay increase in the early hours of the morning. This has become part of an anti-incumbent rallying cry, and it is very likely that Democrats will take control of the state house and possibly the senate as well.
Iíll be providing updates during the day as these races unfold.
--Above Average Jane
—Washington Monthly Election Day Blog 10:48 AM
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