Wednesday, January 18, 2006

GOP Endorsement in 152nd

A reader let me know that an endorsement was being made Tuesday night on the GOP candidate for the 152nd house district. Sue Cornell currently holds the seat, winning a special election after the death of her father, Roy Cornell. Tom Murt is also interested in the GOP slot. I wrote on this house seat earlier here.

The district entails Hatboro, Bryn Athyn, Upper Moreland, Lower Moreland, parts of Horsham, parts of Upper Dublin (all in Montgomery County) and a tiny bit of Philadelphia. You can find a description of the district (and maybe a map) on the Committee of Seventy web site (follow this link, select quicklinks and then maps). [unrelated note -- why is it so hard to find good maps of state and federal districts?]

Voter registration in the district is 53% Republican, 35% Democratic, the rest independents or registered in a minor party. (source: Northeast Times). In the most recent election, the special election Sue Cornell won, she received 57% of the vote. Democrat Ross Schriftman received 42%. Although no formal announcement has been made, his web site is still active (and the source for the election statistics). Going by the registration and voter numbers, more of the independents, etc., voted Democratic.

According to the Intelligencer, before the endorsement some local GOP members were commenting that they felt the endorsement was coming too soon in the electoral process. In an article in today's Intelligencer Tom Murt said he would continue in the race despite the endorsement of Cornell.

If you review the links in my earlier post, you will see that Murt certainly has the qualifications to run, and is that rarity, a GOP Iraqi veteran. Considering that Cornell voted for the legislative pay raise and has been in office such a short time, she may be especially vulnerable to voter backlash. The GOP may have been better served to wait and see what happened or have open meetings with both candidates.

It will be interesting to watch this race. While it isn't an open seat, it is the next closest thing. Murt is a strong candidate, Cornell has name recognition. A strong Democrat might be able to win the general if the GOP fields a weak or damaged candidate. A GOP primary could invigorate the voters or make a hash of things. Cornell will have the party machine behind her. Murt has held township office and so has some familiarity with the process and will have veteran / grassroots / relative outsider status going for him.

I will be keeping an eye on this one.

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