Politics & Policy

Pia Varma, Liberty Belle

Pia Varma is running against Bob Brady in PA-1. The district consists mainly of central and south Philadelphia, and Brady, the Democrat incumbent, has ruled the roost there since 1998.

Brady is a political powerhouse, the chairman of the Philadelphia Democrat Party. Pia Varma’s run is, to put it gently, unlikely to succeed in this Democrat-dominated district. It was not since 1949 that the district elected a Republican and, in 2008, Brady won with 91 percent of the vote. In 2006, he ran uncontested.

And Ms. Varma hasn’t made it easy on herself. The 20-something political novice has struggled even to get on the ballot, though the National Republican Congressional Committee is listing her as their official candidate.

Brutal facts of life about her district aside, her homespun campaign website features a rather edgy video that has helped her attract the attention of grassroots dreamers across Pennsylvania. Nearly 10,000 have watched her video monologue, where she lays out her philosophy on the proper role of and restraints on government.

Not bad for a politically unknown young woman who will likely end up as merely the latest to throw herself in front of the political guns of Philadelphia’s Democrat machine.

If Bob Brady’s massive margin of victory in the last cycle is any indication, seemingly few of those in her district are interested in the type of government she would see blossom in the City of Brotherly Love.

But her being in the race at all, and her willingness to speak in stark terms (describing herself as a “firm defender of laissez faire capitalism”), could help raise her profile as a young woman and a minority Republican who is willing to lay out clearly and soberly a much different vision for her region and the nation.

If nothing else, for lonesome Republicans in the district, at least this year–unlike in 2006–Bob Brady will not win re-election uncontested.


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