Rep. Jim Gerlach announced last year that he would give up the 6th district Congressional seat to run for something. First it was going to be challenging Pat Toomey for the Senate nomination. Then it wasn’t. Next, Gerlach announced he’d run for Governor and challenge Attorney General Tom Corbett for the GOP nomination. Yesterday, he changed his mind about that, too.
This morning, John Micek gave hints that there may have been an important timing factor beyond just the low fundraising numbers (he raised only $1 million, not enough to run a statewide campaign):
Gerlach’s exit came just about 48 hours before central Pennsylvania Republicans are to meet in Harrisburg for a regional endorsement meeting. Corbett locked up the endorsement of his home turf southwestern caucus earlier in the week.
These regional meetings are usually the first tests of a campaign’s mettle in advance of the party endorsement meetings in February.
Technically, State Rep. Sam Rohrer is still in the race. He’s considered the underdog, especially against a man who has already won statewide office even in a very anti-Republican year. (Also, I’ve already mentioned that there’s not much historical precedent to making the leap from State Representative to Governor in Pennsylvania.) If he isn’t pulling off one hell of a surprise in advance of party meetings, then hopefully he’ll shift back to local campaign mode soon. We can’t afford to take losses at the State House.
Going back to Gerlach, he is expected to announce within the hour that he’s no longer giving up his Congressional seat. I can’t imagine that this will go over well with rising Republicans who already stepped up and put together campaigns to make sure his seat didn’t go to Democrats. Hopefully, Gerlach has plans to make up for his indecision of the last year.