The Republican Bench in Pennsylvania

SayUncle in Tennessee seems to share some of my anxiety about GOP prospects in 2012. He speaks of the national race, but any national race starts in the states, and Pennsylvania, as the nation’s 6th largest state, is a good example of that problem.

Bitter and I were speaking yesterday afternoon about the dire situation represented by the GOP bench headed into the 2012 elections. Ignoring the fact this article is mostly about how Tom Corbett is getting into trouble with our commonwealth’s schizophrenic voters (who want pet programs, a balanced budget and reasonable taxes), it shows something important about Bob Casey:

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Scranton, enters his campaign next year for a second term with what Lee called a limited base of support. Thirty-two percent of voters said he deserves re-election, compared with 43 percent who told pollsters it’s time for someone new.

Pennsylvania is generally accepted as a purple-hued blue state. After 2010, we have one conservative Republican Senator in the form of Pat Toomey, who I’d like to think is all of Rick Santorum’s fiscal conservatism, without the paranoia about what the queers are doing to the soil. Could we have two? Traditionally, there’s been Arlen Spector for those who wanted to vote GOP without really doing so. But we don’t have Arlen Specter to kick around anymore.

Who is the GOP going to put up against Bob Casey? Tom Ridge is about the only candidate who comes to mind. Only because he’s is well known and a well liked former governor. His name was floated his name in 2010 to run against Specter. Ridge carries the stench of having carried Bush’s homeland security agenda for longer than is healthy for average mortals. That’s not even mentioning Ridge isn’t really a conservative on important issues, much like his spendy former boss. Besides, rumor has it that Ridge is now a Marylander, and couldn’t run even if he was interested the Pennsylvania Senate race.

Who else? Curt Weldon was driven out of Congress on questionable accusations of corruption in 2006. Maybe he’d like to make a comeback. But let’s face it, we are sending him to Libya right now because every hostage taker worth his salt will only abduct someone that someone else wants back. That probably isn’t Curt. I think Weldon is well done at this point. He’s not coming back for a statewide race.

Jim Gerlach certainly wants a state-wide seat, but after dropping out of the primary for the 2010 Governor race, I think he needs to stay right where he is. Otherwise I’m not confident his 6th district seat will stay in GOP hands without some gerrymandering magic. Gerlach is a poster boy for the fact that there are few GOP Congressional seats safe enough in Pennsylvania that can surely be held in an open race.

Who else does the GOP have with solid statewide name recognition? I really can’t think of anyone. But then, why did Bob Casey Jr. win the 2006 election? Maybe because Santorum was getting gay sex acts named after him, and Bob Casey Jr. happened to be the son of this Bob Casey. This problem also cuts both ways. To make the point, do Democrats want to run Onorato, “Dan Onorato,” again for anything? That was your bench against Corbett.

Pennsylvania is legitimately up for grabs, for either party. But don’t anyone get too excited. Neither party is much in a position to exploit it. Perhaps that is good for our Commonwealth in the long run, because I’ve never been convinced of the benefits of single party rule, no matter what that party is.

11 thoughts on “The Republican Bench in Pennsylvania”

  1. “Jim Gerlach certainly wants a state-wide seat, but after losing handily in the primary for the 2010 Governor race,”

    You might be getting Gerlach confused with Sam Rohrer. Gerlach dropped out of the PA governors race and never submitted a nomination petition nor appeared on the ballot.

  2. No, he doesn’t have them confused. He just meant that in polling prior to the primary, he was doing so horribly that he had to drop out if he wanted a chance at any elected office.

  3. The GOP bench was rather badly damaged by the voluntary term limit promise made by the ’94 Contract with America Representatives. A whole generation of Republican politicians vomited political seppuku in the early 2000s. And the ones who didn’t were the kind of people who would break a campaign promise…

  4. Losing in the primary and not having your name on the ballot are not the same thing. Sam lost in the primary, Gerlach did not as he was not even in the race. Really, until you have your nominating petitions filed, It’s a pretty tough call to say you’re a candidate, sure you may have a committee, might be raising money, circulating your petition. But if you don’t submit the petition you’re not even at the starting line or a race participant.

    This is like proclaiming that Jerry Miculek badly lost XZY competition because he chose not to enter. Or worse yet, claiming you beat him in an event he did not enter.

  5. I did not mention Rohrer here. Rohrer, even if he wants to run, isn’t really a viable candidate. The GOP gubernatorial primary showed he’s a lousy fundraiser and has name recognition problems.

  6. Name recognition has always been a “house” problem. Their rather small districts and their great numbers make them a needle in the haystack. No one has every gone from the Pa state house right to the governors office. As for the house in DC, Gerlach is rather quiet. He does not chair anything and he keeps a rather low profile. He does not seem particularly interested in authoring legislation and he makes few national media appearances – he lacks a soapbox. Beyond the 6th district, he’s unknown. Heck, half of the Pa’s 6th district still thinks Tim Holden is their Rep.

  7. It’s amazing how fiscal conservatives have such a hard time being represented. I swear, all a candidate would have to do is say he’s for lower taxes and less spending, then shut up about things like God and abortion (and witchcraft…), etc, and he’d at least have a shot at winning.

    Who did the GOP put up last time? Pseudo-RINO McCain. Who are people already looking to this time? Polarizing Palin, and “ObamaCare” Romney. It’s like the GOP doesn’t even want to win. I mean, damn, how hard is it to win against the worst President in my lifetime?

  8. 8 years of the Demon Shrub and the best the Democrats could put up barely won, despite McCain scoring a couple of own-goals and sidelining Palin. This is not a disease of one side or the other. Increasingly, honest men and women don’t wasn’t to run. Look at what happened to O’Donnell, or Jack Ryan in Illinois a few years back. There are other samples on both sides. The uninformed voter demands Caesar’s Wife, and that’s not going to happen. The informed voter demands ideological purity, and that’s even rarer.

  9. I don’t know, I think Sam Rohrer should go for it.

    Two reasons, having just ran for governor. He’s already got a bit of his name out there. Pretty much was the other guy on the Republican ticket. So to Republicans, he’s probably better known that most others.

    And frankly, I want that fucktard Casey out. Sorry, but I am so disgusted by his office it’s not even funny. And it has nothing to do with his politics. Heck, I’d practically consider running as a Democrat and campaigning for his opponent regardless of views.

    Every time I have tried to contact his office, I have gotten the worst response EVER from ANY politician in my life.

    Each and every topic I have contacted him about has returned a generic form letter. Now, unlike every other generic form letter I’ve received in the past. Senator Shithead Casey is rather unique, as his form letters are the only ones that are so off-topic to be a rude affront. Contact him about Comcast, or cell phone providers. You’d at least expect something related to telecommunications and technology. Not with Casey. He’s got one form letter and that’s it…


    He has me so pissed off right now…yes, I just received one of his bullshit letters again.


  10. Seriously, I am sending him another letter this evening. Simply going to ask “Why are you and your staff such fucktards.”

    I have never even used that phrase in reference to a politician before Casey. I can disagree with one’s views vehemently. And not think of a politician that way. But being blown off for the 5th or 6th time. Yeah….

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