By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
Ralph Kaiser, a former state Rep. who currently heads government relations at WQED, told PoliticsPA he will not challenge Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny).
“I have no interest in running for congress in 2012,” he told PoliticsPA. “When Congressman Murphy was thinking about challenging Senator Bob Casey last year, it did spark my interest in looking at the open seat.”
That when he was recruited by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But, “When Congressman Murphy announced that he was going to run for re-election to his congressional seat, I lost interest in running.”
“Plus,” he said, “I would have to make a tough decision to resign my job if I decided to run if the seat were open.”
Murphy has typically done very well against Democratic challengers despite a registration disadvantage in the 18th district (most of those challengers have been second-tier). However, a few factors have Democrats giving him a second look for 2012.
The 18th district is slightly more Democratic after redistricting, as Murphy picked up blue collar, steel country voters in Washington and Greene counties. Additionally, Dems are paying attention to Murphy’s conservative primary challenger Evan Feinberg. His campaign is a long-shot at present but the party wants to field a strong candidate in case Feinberg wins. They view him as far more vulnerable the Murphy.
“You can’t argue with [Murphy’s] name recognition,” Kaiser said.
No Democrat has announced for the race, but the Washington County Observer-Reporter reported this weekend that Washco Commissioner Larry Maggi is considering a bid.