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PMA’s Snowball Effect (Visclosky, Murtha Re-Elections Could Be Complicated)
Roll Call ^ | 6-4-09 | Shira Toeplitz

Posted on 06/04/2009 12:23:19 PM PDT by smoothsailing

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PMA’s Snowball Effect

June 4, 2009
By Shira Toeplitz
Roll Call Staff

Two veteran House Democrats could face more complicated bids for re-election next year, depending on the outcome of a federal investigation into PMA Group, a now-defunct lobbying firm.

While investigators look into Reps. John Murtha’s (D-Pa.) and Peter Visclosky’s (D-Ind.) ties to the firm, voters in their respective districts will ultimately get the chance to weigh in on whether they want to send their Representatives back to Washington for another term.

Republicans are optimistic that the ongoing investigation and negative publicity will help make both Members targets for defeat in 2010. Still, short of either man facing federal indictment, the GOP faces many hurdles in its attempts to defeat the veteran lawmakers.

“The bottom line is obviously Republicans have a much better shot if these guys are taken away in handcuffs,” a national Republican operative said.

Republicans said their best target is Murtha, who has already attracted three opponents, including a Democratic primary challenger — more challengers than he’s had in recent history. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won Murtha’s district in the 2008 presidential race with 49 percent of the vote, while Murtha won re-election with 58 percent.

Southwestern Pennsylvania Democratic Party Caucus Chairman Jack Hanna said that the seat would become very competitive if Murtha does not run for re-election.

“If it’s an open seat, the Democrats will need to field a candidate who is moderate, a modern-day version of Jack Murtha, as opposed to someone who is ensconced in the old style of political deal-making and earmarks,” Hanna said.

Hanna acknowledged that even though Murtha was getting plowed in the local press because of the PMA investigation, he will be hard to beat because of how deep his ties run in the district.

“About every week or so, there’s another article coming out on the airport or his nephew. He’s getting beat up badly,” Hanna said. “However, the guy has done so much for so many people — including a ton of Republicans — and delivered the bacon. It’s going to be hard to unseat him.”

This isn’t the first time that Republicans have unsuccessfully tried to target the 19-term Congressman. The 2008 GOP nominee, Bill Russell, spent almost $3.5 million in his campaign against Murtha thanks to a last-minute influx of national money because Murtha made a gaffe on the stump.

Russell is back for another run against Murtha in 2010, but Republicans appear to be pinning their hopes on businessman Tim Burns instead. In a phone interview, Burns said that while he didn’t get into the race because of Murtha’s ethical problems, he believes voters in the district are finally realizing that it’s time for a change.

“One of four things is either going to happen to John Murtha: He’s going to retire, pass away, get indicted or get voted out of office,” Burns said.

Burns is independently wealthy and is open to putting some of his own money into the race. He said he has signed Republican media consultant John Brabender, who has worked extensively in the Keystone State, and hired Public Opinion Strategies to do his polling.

Meanwhile, Murtha has also attracted a primary challenger. Navy officer Ryan Bucchianeri, who was a field goal kicker on the Navy football team, announced he will run against Murtha next year.

Bucchianeri is viewed as a long shot, but he is Murtha’s first serious primary challenger in recent history. He insisted that recent headlines about Murtha and the PMA scandal had nothing to do with his entrance into the race.

“I’m not going to comment on the incumbent and any other candidates at this time,” he said. “In the interim, I invite Pennsylvanians to continue to research the incumbent and ask if he is still truly representing the best interests and character of the people of Pennsylvania and the Democratic Party.”

Unlike Murtha’s swing district, Visclosky’s district is solidly Democratic. President Barack Obama won it last year with 62 percent of the vote, while the Congressman won re-election with 71 percent. Chris Sautter, a Democratic consultant from the Hoosier State, said Visclosky is likely only vulnerable in a primary.

Sautter also pointed out that the district has evolved since Visclosky took office 26 years ago — and an increasing Hispanic and black population could make the Congressman vulnerable to a challenge from someone with ties to those communities.

“His numbers, I’m sure, are still quite good right now,” Sautter said. “But there is a growing Hispanic population and there has always been a large African-American population, and I think there has been some sense among some people that those two groups should share more in office-holding.”

Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez (D) is considering a gubernatorial run in 2012, but he could be a strong candidate against Visclosky if he decided to switch gears. So far, however, Dominguez has not publicly expressed any interest in running for Congress.

It will be be a challenge for Republicans to find a candidate who can raise the funds to compete in the heavily Democratic district. Though no Republicans have expressed interest, there are several wealthy potential candidates. Former state Rep. Dan Dumezich (R), who is contemplating running against Sen. Evan Bayh (D) in 2010, could put much of his money in the race.

2009 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections

1 posted on 06/04/2009 12:23:19 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: jazusamo; RedRover; Tribune7; Just A Nobody; freema
Murtha-Russell PING!!!

Russell is back for another run against Murtha in 2010, but Republicans appear to be pinning their hopes on businessman Tim Burns instead...Burns is independently wealthy and is open to putting some of his own money into the race.

Oh swell. The Pennsylvania Republican Party, run by Murtha crony Robert Gleason, and the NRCC are backing this guy Burns in the Republican primary. How special.

The same Pennsylvania Republican Party and NRCC that didn't lift a finger to help Diana Irey when she challenged Murtha in '06. The same clowns that didn't help Bill Russell in '08 until it was way late in the game and too late to make a difference.

I'm sure Tim Burns is a fine fellow, but since he's independently wealthy, I say let him fund his own primary effort, I'm not buying into it.

Of all the Congressional races this year, why in the world would two Republicans have to battle in a primary.Bill Russell and Tim Burns should unite right now, in a full-throttled assault on John Murtha. Bill Russell, the retired Army Ranger, highly decorated Gulf War veteran, should be the only Republican in the race. If Burns wants to get involved, let him throw his money around on Bill's behalf. Let him stump for the man who was at the Pentagon on 9-11, and whose son is the youngest survivor of that infamous jihadist attack on the Pentagon.

2 posted on 06/04/2009 12:27:21 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Murtha called the people in his district a bunch of red-neck, idiot, racists (literally) and still got reelected (even with a pretty good Republican candidate running against him.)

The only way he won’t get reelected is if he is physically in jail (unless the law in PA allows you to run for office while in jail, in which case he will still be reelected, sitting in jail or not.)

3 posted on 06/04/2009 12:31:36 PM PDT by Brookhaven (Obama hasn't just open Pandora's box, he has thrown us inside and closed the lid.)
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To: smoothsailing; alice_in_bubbaland; Allegra; ArmyTeach; billmor; FranklinsTower; freema; Fred; ...
Bill Russell, the retired Army Ranger, highly decorated Gulf War veteran, should be the only Republican in the race.

Amen to that, Smooth and PA Repubs should boot Gleason out if he and the Party don't support Bill Russell as he should be supported.

Bill Russell for Congress & Murtha Watch Ping!

PA 12th District
Bill Russell

Inquiries to:
POBox 630, Johnstown, PA 15907
Tel. 814-525-9171

Contact me to be added to ping list.

4 posted on 06/04/2009 12:36:49 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo; All
Just got an e-mail from Bill Russell and he said...

"Give my best to all the FREEPERS!"

5 posted on 06/04/2009 1:20:40 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

jail is where they belong

6 posted on 06/04/2009 1:40:39 PM PDT by Munz ("We're all here for you OK? It's a circle of love" Rham Emanuel)
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To: Munz
jail is where they belong

I don't know about Viscloskey, maybe he's just a dupe.

But Murtha isn't, and you're right about him.

BTW, Happy one year anniversary at Free Republic! Don't let anybody call you a newbie anymore! :)

7 posted on 06/04/2009 1:46:37 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

Hey thanks!
Didn’t even realize it myself.
Nobody has ever been insulting to me at all here though tbh.

I love this place, so much to learn and the remarks are usually more insightful if not down right entertaining.

8 posted on 06/04/2009 1:50:26 PM PDT by Munz ("We're all here for you OK? It's a circle of love" Rham Emanuel)
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To: smoothsailing

Viscloskey is a sharp politician. There is no chance whatever of Lake County turning him out of office.

9 posted on 06/04/2009 1:57:27 PM PDT by Mr. Lucky
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To: Mr. Lucky
From everything I've read about him and his involvement with PMA, he stands out as a politician who took the matter headon, returning campaign contributions, voting for the Flake resolution, etc. He seemed to be genuinely contrite. Whether it's just an act, I don't know. But it is a smart approach.
10 posted on 06/04/2009 2:09:04 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: jazusamo; freema; Just A Nobody; RedRover
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From Citizen Soldiers to Citizen Legislators

June 1, 2009
By Kieran Michael Lalor
Special to Roll Call

In a Feb. 12 column, Stuart Rothenberg, Roll Call’s election expert, explained the “dread” that he felt before meeting with an Iraq veteran running for Congress. He wrote, “Another Iraq War veteran running for Congress? Oh, brother. Given the track records of veterans who have nothing else on their résumés, I wasn’t optimistic.”

We expect a reflexive dismissal of the value of military service to appear in Department of Homeland Security reports, not in a “nonpartisan analysis of American politics and elections.”

But it has been clear for years that most “analysis” of House races involves looking at Federal Election Commission fundraising totals and ensuring that candidates fit the narrow template that the pundits have developed for House candidates.

Rothenberg’s analysis of Iraq vet candidates is equally superficial and couldn’t be more wrong.

Veterans have already demonstrated selfless service to country, a credential sorely missing in Washington, D.C. The current generation of veterans is pure volunteer. They joined up when there was no draft, when military service was the exception rather than the rule as it was in previous generations. Many Iraq vet candidates enlisted after 9/11, knowing combat was inevitable. And each candidate led troops in the most arduous of conditions.

Moreover, Rothenberg is incorrect when he says military service is the only thing on the résumés of Iraq vets running for Congress.

Consider these Iraq vet candidates running as Republicans in 2010:

• Will Breazeale: a Boeing 737 airline pilot (North Carolina’s 7th)

• Kevin Calvey: an attorney who left his seat as a state Representative to serve in the Army Judge Advocate General Corps (Oklahoma’s 5th)

• Wayne Mosley: an orthopedic surgeon with a master’s degree in business administration in negotiations (Georgia’s 12th)

• Lee Zeldin: an attorney for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey who now runs his own law firm (New York’s 1st)

• Vaughn Ward: a CIA operations officer and Senate legislative aide (Idaho’s 1st)

• Bill Russell: a retired Army officer and Airborne Ranger who worked his way up from private to lieutenant colonel and helped lead 9/11 rescue efforts at the Pentagon (Pennsylvania’s 12th)

• Allen West: a retired Army officer, high school teacher and special adviser to the Afghan Army (Florida’s 22nd)

• Adam Kinzinger: a former McLean County Board member who joined the Air National Guard after 9/11. He saved the life of a complete stranger by fighting off a knife-wielding maniac (Illinois’ 11th)

When you compare these citizen soldiers seeking to become citizen legislators with other candidates and contrast the military pedigree of honor, service and sacrifice with the typical background of House candidates, the differences are stark.

“Strong” House candidates usually fall into three categories. First, there are the career politicians. Their primary qualifications are being well-versed in spending taxpayer money for maximum political advantage and toeing the party line so as to advance. Above all they possess a strong sense that they are entitled to represent their community in Washington because it’s their turn.

Failed New York 20th district special election candidate Jim Tedisco (R) falls squarely within this all-too-common category of candidate. His dismal loss to a 38-year-old upstart, despite a 70,000-person edge in party voter registration, indicates the tide might be turning against the ticket punchers.

Then, there are the “my politician-relative is my qualification” candidates. In 2008, the daughter of former New Jersey Gov. Christie Todd Whitman (R) sought the GOP nomination for a House seat in the Garden State.

Reporting on her campaign indicated that 30-year-old Kate Whitman was a good candidate and never questioned whether her résumé of cushy public relations gigs, common for political legacies, was adequate qualification.

Finally, there are the rich guys, qualified to serve in Congress because of the size of their wallets. The political class loves these candidates because they are cash cows for pollsters, consultants and spin-doctors.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, out of vision, energy and, evidently, self-respect, openly courted self-funders to run in 2008. The Republicans got what the political world thought was a blue chipper in multimillionaire Sandy Treadwell. He spent $7 million and only mustered 38 percent against now-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) in the same GOP district that Tedisco would lose five months later.

Washington prognosticators’ shallow and lazy analyses affect who receives important institutional support for Congressional campaigns and dramatically affect the viability of candidates and how we get our Congress. Fortunately, voters, not political handicappers, are the ultimate arbiters of who is qualified to serve in Congress.

The perseverance and dedication that turned defeat in Iraq into victory is exactly the type of bold leadership that the country needs to overcome our current economic and national security challenges.

Kieran Michael Lalor, a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, is chairman of Iraq Veterans for Congress Political Action Committee. He was the Republican nominee in New York’s 19th district in 2008.

2009 © Roll Call Inc. All rights reserved.

11 posted on 06/04/2009 2:18:19 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing; Mr. Lucky

Like you Smooth, I don’t know anything about Viscloskey other than this fiasco and he’s handled it 180 degrees opposite of Murtha and like you say Mr. Lucky, he’s sharp and it shows here.

Glad to hear Russell is still aware of us FReepers. :)

12 posted on 06/04/2009 2:22:35 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: smoothsailing

Glad you posted this, Smooth. I just received it from Kieran also.

13 posted on 06/04/2009 2:25:40 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: Munz; Mr. Lucky; Brookhaven; jazusamo; Sathya; All

E-mail from Bill Russell in reference to post #11....
Please post on the Freeper site..... I just saw the posted article by Kieran Lalor (A brave Marine who made a great run in NY’s 12th District)... I just want to clarify, that I was not one of the leaders of the rescue efforts in the Pentagon on 9/11, I was simply a proud participant who did his job....There were far too many truly brave people on that day who put themselves in harm’s way in the face of fiery death for me to have it said that I was leading them that day .... We had Lt Generals acting the parts of Platoon Sergeants, with Colonels, Lt Colonels, and Majors (I was a Major at the time) acting the parts of Squad leaders and Squad members (with real NCOs taking care of all of us) as we supported the Arlington County Fire Department in its rescue efforts. While I am very proud to have witnessed what happened that day and to have stood beside some great people, I cannot denigrate their contributions by allowing my minor role to be overstated.

Thanks to all and to Kieran for his kind endorsement.....



14 posted on 06/05/2009 2:34:17 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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To: smoothsailing

It’s admirable to see Bill Russell make the point although it’s a small one. Everyone there that day assisting in the rescue whether in or out of uniform was a leader in their own way and heroic.

Many thanks are due to all of them!

15 posted on 06/05/2009 2:45:40 PM PDT by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo
When I read Bill's words, my thoughts were much like yours and I was reminded of something I heard yesterday.

Michael Reagan was asked what Ronald Reagan would have thought of the unveiling of his statue. Michael, as close as I can remember,said; "My father wouldn't get all the fuss, he'd say "Why me?"".

16 posted on 06/05/2009 3:02:43 PM PDT by smoothsailing
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