The Campaign Spot

The PA-12 Results Are Bad for the GOP. Just How Bad?

In Pennsylvania’s 12th district, Republican Tim Burns has conceded to Democrat Mark Critz.

One reader’s on the ledge:

Pa12 is more than a disappointment.  It is a disaster.  You know politics as well as I do (even though I’m probably your senior by at least thirty years).  When there is a political wave the following happens: parties win special elections in normally difficult districts; they win with weak candidates; they win all the close elections. They just win, win, and win.  Burns’s defeat shows, as of now, the Rs will unlikely take the House.  Perhaps they’ll do well; as today’s generic Gallup indicates around a gain in the low thirties.  But not what we need.  I didn’t read much about what Burns’ campaign was like, perhaps you can offer some meaningful analysis.  My guess is that the Republican label is still a liability in many areas; areas that they have to win in order to take the House.

A point: Tim Burns’s task was complicated by the fact that he was running against a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat who ran against the health-care bill and the cap-and-trade legislation. The Burns campaign did everything they could to tie Critz to Democratic figures and laws that polled badly in the district — Pelosi, the health-care bill — and it appears that in the end, voters in the district weren’t buying it.

But I am wondering about the Burns campaign’s get-out-the-vote operation at this hour. Also, another conservative blogger mentioned to me a few days ago that some supporters of Bill Russell, the Republican who ran against John Murtha in 2008, wouldn’t be supporting Burns in the special election. (Russell is competing against Burns in the primary election for the November ballot; at this moment, Burns leads Russell, 56 percent to 43 percent.) I was skeptical that enough Russell supporters would do this to effect the race, but now I’m wondering. Did the Russell folks keep their ballots blank?

UPDATE: Jay Cost: “I count about 95,000 votes in special election and 111,000 in primaries.” (UPDATE: Nevermind, it’s a glitch on the Pennsylvania site.)

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