Local Pa politics...
As some of us know, Patrick Murphy and Andy "Mr. Warmth" Warren are running against Repug incumbent Mike Fitzpatrick for the 8th district U.S. House seat. In 2004 and 2002, Ginny Schrader ran for the seat against Fitzpatrick and Jim Greenwood, respectively, and of course lost both times. Many people thought that Ginny was aiming a bit too high and that she should run for local or statewide office before she took a shot at Washington, especially since she didn't have a record of government service. I thought that was partly a bum rap, because Ginny has a lot to offer, and being a woman, I think she has to meet a lot higher of a standard than a man would have to meet when trying to do the same thing.
Also, I've met Ginny a couple of times and spoken with her, and I have no doubt that she would be a bright, able legislator. However, in this bedrock Republican area where I live, the fact that she's a working woman in somewhat of a Hillary Clinton mode automatically turns people off. That's not fair, but that's the reality.
Ginny had tough fights the two times she ran previously for different reasons. Running against an entrenched incumbent like Greenwood who actually was moderate on a few issues was just about an unwinable campaign from the start, but when Greenwood bailed in '04, that evened the field for her. However, the Repugs revved up their slime machine and poured a ton of dough into Fitzpatrick's campaign, and that ultimately made the difference (at one point, they ran an attack ad claiming that Ginny, a Jew, contributed money to Hezbollah...Ginny was correct to blame Fitzpatrick for that before the start of one of the debates, though he sat impassively and claimed that he knew nothing - which is pretty cowardly, I think - angering Ginny to the point where she stormed out after tossing a file of documentation on him; Ginny was right on principle, but unfortunately, she lost on that in the court of public opinion).
Well, she's going to give it another shot, running against Joe Conti for the PA State Senate. Good for her.
I think she has a shot because the Repugs are divided on Conti, and also because Conti took some heat for a time for refusing to reimburse the state for that horrible pay raise they tried to sneak through last summer. It should be noted that Conti eventually did reimburse the state for the raise.
The Repugs are partly divided on Conti because they're in typical "take no prisoners" mode, trying to unseat him the same way they tried to unseat Arlen Specter by running anti-abortion zealot Pat Toomey against him in '04 Repug primary, with Specter beating back that challenge (I was actually rooting for Toomey because I thought Joe Hoeffel would be able to beat him in the general election...oh well).
I went to the Grassroots PA site, which is basically another Repug mouthpiece, and I read a post from July '04 where they basically beat up Conti for voting for "the infamous Ed Rendell tax increase" (which was meant to restore education funding and balance the state budget, but heaven forbid that a politician handle finances responsibly as far as the Repugs are concerned...don't tell me that they know what they're doing in that area when even John Bogle of Vanguard, a lifelong registered Republican, can't understand them any more). They also go after Conti for accepting "controversial campaign contributions from strip club owners."
Oh mah gawd! No wonder these Repug "pillars of moral virtue" are all in a tizzy! Call James Dobson and Pat Robertson immediately! I think we need an intervention here!
If Ginny runs a skilled, issues-based campaign - which I believe she is certainly capable of doing - then I believe this race could be won, especially if somehow Conti is knocked off in the primary by an ultra-right Repug nut case in the Toomey mold. What is ironic is that, except for Conti's misstep on the pay raise issue, I think he's actually done not too bad of a job. Before he left office to cash out and take the "Big Pharma" job, Greenwood had actually pegged Conti for his U.S. House seat, but that didn't sit well with Harry Fawkes, Bucks County PA GOP chairman (I believe I confused him with Hank Miller sometime ago in another post having to do with local politics - oops). Fawkes had Fitzpatrick in mind all along, because that played better with the fundamentalist stooges currently calling the shots for the Repugs in Washington (Fitzpatrick being Catholic and all that), so it was "exit, stage left" for Conti.
So it sounds like we're off and running, and here's to a better outcome for Ginny in November.
Besides, I think we've received the first positive sign already; J.D. Mullane said she's making a mistake (I'd worry if he agreed with her).