U.S. House races:
Of Pennsylvania’s 19 congressional districts, only four appear to be competitive.
The 6th Congressional District:
GOP Rep. Jim Gerlach faces Democratic challenger Lois Murphy.
Rep. Jim Gerlach: Gerlach supports making President George W. Bush’s tax cuts permanent. He also voted for the House border-security bill that strictly dealt with protecting the U.S.-Mexican border from illegal border crossings. The incumbent also opposes government using eminent domain to transfer an individual’s private property to private developers.
Lois Murphy: Murphy supports tax cuts for the middle class, she wants to make health care more affordable and she has a plan to halve the $248 billion federal budget deficit within five years. Murphy wants to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and supports the development and promotion of alternative fuel sources.
The 7th Congressional District:
GOP Rep. Curt Weldon faces Democratic challenger Joe Sestak.
Rep. Curt Weldon: The embattled incumbent supports embryonic stem cell research, and he wants Congress to pass legislation allowing small businesses to band together to negotiate for lower health care costs. Weldon supports President Bush’s tax-cut policies.
Joe Sestak: The retired Navy vice admiral wants to withdraw from Iraq by the end of next year. Sestak supports providing health care access to all Americans and reducing the $8.5 trillion national debt. He supports increasing funding for students from kindergarten all the way up to college.
8th Congressional District:
GOP Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick faces Democratic challenger Patrick J. Murphy (no relation to Lois Murphy).
Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick: He supports permanently repealing the estate tax. The incumbent also favors allowing small businesses to band together to negotiate for lower health care costs. He’s a strong supporter of providing benefits to U.S. soldiers, and he opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil.
Patrick J. Murphy: The Iraq war veteran supports universal health care for all Americans and federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Murphy wants to bring home the U.S. troops in Iraq by a certain date. He also wants college to be affordable for all American students.
10th Congressional District:
GOP Rep. Don Sherwood faces Democratic challenger Christopher Carney.
Rep. Don Sherwood: The incumbent supports keeping taxes low and eliminating the property-inheritance estate tax. He also supports raising the federal minimum wage and enacting medical liability reforms to limit the amount of money people can receive from winning medical malpractice lawsuits.
Christopher Carney: The retired Navy Reserve officer supports expanding veterans’ benefits and wants U.S. soldiers to quickly train Iraqi troops so the troops can come home sooner. He supports protecting the U.S.-Mexican border, but also favors offering a path to citizenship for some of the 12 million illegal immigrants in the country.
General Assembly races:
All 203 state House seats and half of the state Senate’s 50 seats are on the ballot. Many new faces will be voted in the legislature, following a controversial salary pay raise that lawmakers voted for at 2 a.m. just before going on summer recess. Voters denied a state Supreme Court justice retention and voted out, some might say “evicted,” 17 lawmakers in the primary elections. Also, an additional 30 state legislators announced their retirement or resignation before the May primary. Republicans expect to hold onto their majorities in both chambers, but there are almost two dozen tight races in the House. A Capitolwire inquiry found 22 state representatives to be vulnerable to losing re-election, and the pay raise controversy is a major issue in several of those races:
Rep. George Kenney (R., Northeast Phila.) faces a tough re-election battle against Democratic challenger Brendan Boyle largely because of the pay raise issue.
Rep. Tom Gannon (R., Delaware) is in a close race against Democrat Bryan Lentz partly because of the pay raise issue.
Rep. Frank Dermody (D., Allegheny) is in a tight race against Republican challenger Eileen Watt, whom is using the pay raise issue against the Democrat.
Rep. John Siptroth (D., Monroe) faces a tough challenge from Republican Donna Asure, for Asure is reminding voters that Siptroth accepted the pay raise after voting against it.
Rep. Dante Santoni (D., Berks) is running against Republican Hal Baker in a district with a strong anti-pay raise sentiment.
Rep. Mike Sturla (D., Lancaster) is running against Republican Patrick Snyder in another area with fierce anti-pay raise views.
Rep. Matt Good (R., Erie), who voted for the pay raise, faces Democratic challenger John Hornaman in a competitive race.
Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman can be reached at email@example.com.