Burns for Congress Instead of Senate?
By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
Team Corbett is seeking to convince Tim Burns to run for Congress instead of U.S. Senate, several sources tell PoliticsPA. The Governor’s political team has been making calls in the wake of Rep. Mike Turzai’s decision to stay out of Pa’s 12th congressional district.
Up front, the Burns camp has said unequivocally that he will remain in the Senate race and plans to fight through state committee meeting this weekend.
But the conversations are happening.
Governor Tom Corbett endorsed Chester County entrepreneur Steve Welch in the Senate primary, but Welch has had a lackluster reception thus far. Thanks to a combination of committee politics and Welch’s vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primary, a tally of regional caucus straw polls to date shows Burns commanding first place and Welch in a mediocre third.
However, the state committee endorsement is looking increasingly unlikely for Burns. Sources indicate that the southeast caucus – whose decision not to hold an endorsement vote was the source of much consternation last week – is falling in line with the Governor and Welch.
All afternoon and evening, PoliticsPA heard from and about state committee members in SEPA and other parts of the state who had received – and in many cases succumb to – pressure from party Chairman Rob Gleason and Corbett’s political team.
It’s much tougher to oppose the Guv publicly than in an anonymous straw poll. Committee members will cast their on Saturday in Hershey, with Corbett or his team nearby.
If Burns decided to defer on the Senate race and run instead for Congress, it would allow everyone to save face.
That’s why similar efforts were made a few weeks ago to woo Burns into the race. However, at the time, it appeared that Pa. House Majority Leader Mike Turzai was himself considering a bid. Turzai ruled out a run Tuesday.
Burns cut his teeth in politics during his 2010 special and general elections against now-Rep. Mark Critz (he lost by 7.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively). His residual relationships and name ID would help him overcome the fact that he does not live within the newly-drawn borders of the 12th district. He would face Allegheny County attorney Keith Rothfus, who also lives outside the district.
The Republican nominee will face the winner of the primary contest between Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz.