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Kelly Raises Statewide Profile

Mike Kelly Youtube
Some of Kelly’s YouTube videos

Thank you, Google alerts. A few disparate clips about Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Butler) caught our eye this. Could the bombastic Congressman be looking for higher office?

As we noted before, Kelly could seek a spot on the list of potential backup candidates should Gov. Tom Corbett choose not to run for re-election. Kelly has been making the rounds on television and across the state.

At least one Republican thinks Kelly would be a good candidate. In a letter to the editor of the Lewistown Sentinel (like we said, thank Google alerts), Jonathan Hayes said he’d choose the Congressman over Corbett.

“If anyone doubts Mike Kelly’s leadership, go to YouTube.com and search Mike Kelly. His powerful demonstrations on the House floor have earned him the respect of many colleagues and constituents alike,” Hayes wrote.

One such YouTube hit: Kelly’s July 2012 floor speech about government regulation.

The attention he’s gotten is no accident. Though Kelly is only in his second term, he has already appeared on national news programs seventeen times this year, according to the Erie Times-News.

The down side? The growing profile is a double-edged sword – particularly in the context of a hypothetical future high profile race. The same fiery speeches and interviews that endear him to the party base can get him in trouble with potential statewide swing voters.

Just last week, Kelly caught the attention of the national news outlet Roll Call during a tirade against President – specifically when he said Obama “divides us on race.” When the reporter followed up with Kelly on the remark, Kelly seemed caught off guard.

“Listen, I’ll tell you what: It’s self-evident,” Kelly told Roll Call then. “I don’t know if people who aren’t reading or not watching, maybe, don’t have the same opinion, but I think it’s pretty obvious where we’re going with some of this stuff.”

A Kelly spokesman told PoliticsPA on Wednesday that he was referring to a recent NBC/WSJ poll, which showed national attitudes on race relations have deteriorated since Obama’s first inauguration.

He made one of his most noteworthy statements last year when he compared the requirement that private insurers cover birth control to the national tragedies of Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

“I know in your mind you can think of the times America was attacked,” he said then. “One is Dec. 7 — that is Pearl Harbor Day. Another was Sept. 11 — that was the day of the terrorist attack. I want you to remember August 1, 2012 — the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates.”

Grassroots Republicans ate it up, while mainstream and Democratic observers said the comparison was reprehensible.

Kelly loves the camera, and has proven he can fire up the GOP base. But can he leverage that skill set to appeal to general election audience? Will he try? Time will tell.

13 Responses

  1. So far only Rep. Rothfus and Rep. Marino have committed to NAY vote unless the Continuing Resolution defunds Obamacare.

    Rep. Kelly is more about grandstanding rhetoric than actual limited government votes.

  2. Rep. Kelly’s votes on Continuing Resolution September 30 and Debt Ceiling will tell us if he is viable Pennsylvania principled grassroots candidate.

    To date, his voting record has not match his rhetoric.

  3. It’s an interesting article, but I think you’re really reaching for “statewide exposure” by citing a Lewistown LTE. Ask a SEPA swing voter to find Lewistown on a map within 90 seconds.

  4. I’m really hoping Rep. Kelly resigns so he can put all his efforts into challenging Corbett in the primary. (chuckle)

  5. Suggestion for COS Gromis-Baker (our Joan of Arc): With all the Fees that Dark Prince Brabender has made from Tom Corbett over the years, can’t he even buy Mr. Corbett a nice dog? With Mr. Corbett’s approval ratings so low, it might be nice to have a furry friend running around the Governor’s mansion, improving morale. I have a name for the Corbett canine-BRIAN.

  6. Kelly is unfortunately my congressmen. He is the mist rude and ignorant person I’ve ever met that has held public office. I would love to see this man in the spotlight and lots of cameras on him so he can further show himself as the jerk he really is. He had better watch because in 2016 voter turnout is going to be at record highs and his seat will be in danger.

  7. I’m not convinced that Kelly is running against Corbett in a GOP primary. However, being a jackass is probably a good strategy when running against a horse’s ass.

    🙂

  8. The author of this article doesn’t understand PAGOP politics. The game is not about having a winning candidate. It is about making sure our DARK PRINCE, JOHN BRABENDER gets his ad commissions. WINNING IS NOT NEARLY THE ONLY THING! As I have commented many times, I’m anxious to join the Corbett Knights. I know how to dress respectfully at a FUNERAL! I too want to keep OUR DARK PRINCE out of poverty!

  9. Mike Kelly said that we shouldn’t have food stamps because we have clean air and opportunity.

    He’s a jackass of the highest calibur.

  10. You have got to be kidding. Kelly is an absolute jackass. Remember he is the jerk that stated women’s health care a disgrace and compared it to 911 of horrible dates in our history. He should shut his fake mouth and go back to selling used cars. My blood boiles when I hear his name. Total disgrace. Total jerk.

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