The passing of John Murtha (D-PA) has opened up the prospect of a special election to fill the seat before November, and the smart money right now appears to be on 5/18/10, when the state already has primary elections scheduled.
The reason for holding it on the same day as the primaries is simple – it’ll save money. And of course, voters will be going to the polls anyway.
According to CQ Politics, Murtha has always easily won re-election in western Pennsylvania’s 12th District. But this was John McCain territory in 2008 (narrowly), who edged Barack Obama here, and the region has a tradition of putting Republicans into elective offices.
CQ has followed the lead of the Cook Political Report and moved the district out of the Democratic column and labeled it a toss-up.
Each party has an abundance of possible candidates. There have been no reports of a strong movement to any one of them on either side. Each party will use its own method to pick a candidate for the special election.
RBR-TVBR observation: Murtha has had this seat for a long time, but the district he represents has a lot of Republicans in it. Democrats will not want to lose what’s long been theirs, and Republicans will want to exploit their natural advantages in the region. It could mean not one but two hotly contested House races and a double-dip in political revenue for broadcasters.