By Keegan Gibson, Managing Editor
“Rep. [GOPer from swing district] voted to slash [entitlement program] in order to line the pockets of [the wealthy/big oil/China],” the typical headline reads.
We’re used to seeing the southeastern Republicans in swing districts: Reps. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne), Pat Meehan (R-Delaware), Jim Gerlach (R-Chester), Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh), Mike Kelly (R-Butler) and Tom Marino (R-Lycoming).
But they’ve added a new name to the list: Rep. Tim Murphy. Twice in the past month, the Allegheny County Congressman has been included in a DCCC blast. He made the list a total of two times in the entire year prior.
Blame redistricting. Murphy took one for the team, giving up a claim to the deep red North Hills of Pittsburgh and absorbing majority Democratic areas in Greene and Washington counties. The district is now blue enough (registration-wise) that Murphy is drawing fire from the left.
In its district-by-district analysis of the new map, the DCCC in December named Murphy 6th on its list of potentially vulnerable GOP incumbents – ahead of freshman Rep. Lou Barletta. PoliticsPA has called him “potentially vulnerable.”
Further, a source says Democrats are watching to see if Murphy moves to the right in anticipation of his primary challenge from Evan Feinberg.
“The first year of Representative Tim Murphy’s Republican Congress is marked by extreme partisanship and unbending protection of Big Oil and the ultra wealthy,” said Jesse Ferguson of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in a press release headlined “Year One: Murphy Chooses Extremism and Ultra Wealthy Over Middle Class and Creating Jobs.”
“No surprise the party promoting big government, higher taxes and government run healthcare is attacking Congressman Murphy since he has opposed their agenda every step of the way,” responded Murphy Chief of Staff Susan Mosychuk
Some Pa. Democrats have named Ralph Kaiser, a former state Rep. who now directs government affairs at WQED, as a likely recruit against Murphy. Kaiser has not responded to several requests for comment from PoliticsPA.
In fairness, the DCCC’s Republican counterpart, the NRCC, does the same thing vis-a-vis press releases. It constantly goes after Rep. Mark Critz (D-Cambria), and often Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Allegheny), too. Their districts were merged during the redistricting process and the resulting 12th is a tossup according to registration and voting trends.
Typical NRCC headline:
“Will Rep. [Critz/Altmire] support [Nancy Pelosi’s/Barack Obama’s] job-killing regulations to help his [union boss/fringe environmentalist/ACORN] allies?”