Monday, June 19, 2006

Murtha vs. Irey

John Murtha's willingness to step to the forefront to say silly things about redeployment of US forces has led to more attention to his challenger in November. AllahPundit and Instapundit for example, have taken note.

Anyway, thought I'd post what little National Journal (subscription required) has to say about the race. They rate the district as 'solidly democratic,' and add:

District Profile: Although it was carefully carved by Democratic redistricting, the 12th District saw John Kerry squeak by only two points ahead of George W. Bush.

2004 Results: John Murtha (D) was unopposed

That's not much to go on, but the 'solidly democratic' assessment probably reflects Murtha's long tenure, previous non-controversiality, and the expectation that Republicans would not seriously contest the race. Changed circumstances might lead National Journal to reassess.

NJ also gives a very lenghty profile of Murtha and the district, but little of it is relates directly to the politics of the race:

...The 12th Congressional District of Pennsylvania, with highly irregular boundaries, contains much of this coal and steel country. It includes all of Greene County and parts of Fayette, Somerset, Cambria, Indiana, Armstrong, Washington and Westmoreland Counties. The boundaries were drawn by Republican legislators who wanted to create a new Republican-leaning 18th District in the southern suburbs of Pittsburgh while also accommodating Democratic Congressman John Murtha, second ranking minority member on the Appropriations Committee, who has worked assiduously to help Pennsylvania. The district includes Murtha's home base of Johnstown and Democratic territory in the southwestern corner of the state.

Politically, this was one of the most Republican parts of America from the Civil War up to the 1930s. Republican policies, including high tariffs and hostility to labor unions, were seen as protecting jobs and increasing growth in the steel economy centered on Pittsburgh. With the coming of the New Deal, and success of the United Mine Workers and the United Steelworkers, the area began voting mostly Democratic. Since 1945, on the Monday before primary and general elections, Democratic pols from across southwestern Pennsylvania have attended the "rally in the valley" held at the Slovak Home in the mill town of Monessen. But it has not followed the national Democratic Party on all issues. Voters here have strongly favored trade restrictions on steel imports, even when most other Democrats were free traders in the 1960s and 1970s; more recently most House Democrats have been opposing free trade measures. Voters here also tend to take conservative stands on cultural issues and foreign policy. This carefully carved district voted 55%-44% for Al Gore in 2000. But after George W. Bush imposed import quotas on steel and boosted clean coal technology, the district voted only 51%-49% for John Kerry...

Candidate Total Votes Percent Expenditures
2004 general John Murtha (D) unopposed

2004 primary John Murtha (D) unopposed

2002 general
John Murtha (D) 124,201 73% $2,386,861
Bill Choby (R) 44,818 27% $17,584

Prior winning percentages: 2000 (71%); 1998 (68%); 1996 (70%); 1994 (69%); 1992 (100%); 1990 (62%); 1988 (100%); 1986 (67%); 1984 (69%); 1982 (61%); 1980 (59%); 1978 (69%); 1976 (68%); 1974 (58%); 1974 (50%)

2004 Presidential Vote
Kerry (D) 141,046 (51%)
Bush (R) 133,088 (49%)

2000 Presidential Vote
Gore (D) 131,960 (55%)
Bush (R) 105,451 (44%)

District Demographics
Cook Partisan Voting Index: D + 5
District Size: 2,781 square miles
Population in 2000: 646,249; 62.5% urban; 37.5% rural
Median Household Income: $30,612; 13.6% are below the poverty line
Occupation: 30.5% blue collar; 51.4% white collar; 18.1% gray collar; 15.3% military veterans
Race/Ethnic Origin: 95.0% White, 3.3% Black, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% Amer. Indian, 0.0% Hawaiian, 0.7% Two+ races, 0.1% Other, 0.6% Hispanic origin
Ancestry: 17.3% German, 9.8% Irish, 9.2% Italian

I don't know much about Pennsylvania politics, but this looks to me like a democratic-leaning district where voters have never had a reason to question the incumbent. You can't put much stock in the numbers from before 2002, because redistricting means that 2002 was the first race in the district as it looks today. The right challenger, plus Murtha's recent prominence, might mean a competitive race this year.

Back to the top.


chancuff said...


(Click all the links, or you'll get/be lost.)

Cliff Hancuff
The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too

chancuff said...

Things are JUST NOT GOING WELL for the folks at the "Diana Irey for Congress" camp.

Diana Irey Press Release UPDATE! 911101894
(read first 4 posts, the rest if you fancy to) 631100794 134103794
(click all links found in post, or you will get/be lost)

Cliff Hancuff
The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too

chancuff said...

Larry Bailey of's private email address can be found at the top of this letter. Take a moment to drop him a note to ask if he's going to cut&run from my challenge.
For some samples of Diana Irey's Cut&Runs, go here:

Subject: RE: Iraqi Governemt Kicks Dubya's "Stay the Course" TO THE CURB!
Date: 9/14/2006 10:16:18 A.M. Eastern Standard Time
From: JournalismIsFlat
CC:,,,,,,,,, JournalismIsFlat,,

It's "Show Time", wimp.

Cliff Hancuff
The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too

chancuff said...


CONTACT: Cliff Hancuff
September 29, 2006

"American troops could be home now, except for critical mistakes by our current Commander in Chief," charges Cliff Hancuff, Director of The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too.

"Media and right-wing bloggers are ignoring this fact. For weeks I have been challenging political activists and journalists to act with a minimum of ethical standards," continued Hancuff.

"I became involved when the Sun-Sentinel in Florida reported that Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) said the U.S. poses the top threat to world peace. I watched in dismay as the media and bloggers worldwide reported on this misquote."

"My involvement continued when I discovered Diana Irey, John Murtha's political opponent, had attacked Murtha using a fictional quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln."

"Larry Bailey of is continuing his three year blind support of our current Commander in Chief's incompetence in war. President Bush declared war in Iraq without the 4th Infantry, our most lethal, modern, and deployable heavy division in the world," added Hancuff.

This mistake lead to the atrocity of Al Qaqaa. Iraqi insurgents stole hundreds of tons of high explosives to be used as weaponry.

"These are the explosives being used by Iraqi insurgents and al Qaeda to perpetuate the war in Iraq."

"I am distressed that the same issues ignored by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in 2004 are being ignored again in 2006," said Hancuff adding, "Americans, American soldiers and their families deserve better."

"Without these critical mistakes made by our current Commander in Chief, our American troops would be home with their loved ones, with honor, right now."

On October 1, 2006 Hancuff be at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena located in Johnstown Pennsylvania for Larry Bailey's Swiftboating of John Murtha rally. It is there Hancuff will continue his wait for Mr. Bailey to recall the values of honor and integrity taught him by our US Navy.

There is a video online at:

YouTube - Rovian Architecture Unplugged

The World of Journalism Is Flat, Too