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SE PA Incumbent Congressional Slot May Be Vacated, Leaving it Highly Vulnerable to Democratic Win

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SE PA Incumbent Congressional Slot May Be Vacated, Leaving it Highly Vulnerable to Democratic Win

Rob Kall

Yes Yes YES! It looks like my local, six term Republican US congressman, Jim Greenwood, from suburban Philadelphia PA,  is heading for republican retirement heaven-- as a lobbyist-- probably for a drug company (oops, I checked futher... make that biotech.) That leaves his seat much more vulnerable. Just last week I'd heard that Emily's list, one of the biggest supporters of democratic women running for office, had written off Virginia "Ginny" Schrader as candidate in a race that had the odds too high to make the investment in her worthwhile.

Things have suddenly changed. While the congressman has not made an official announcement yet, congressman Chaka Fatah sent a congratulatory press release to Greenwood. The democratic contender has been operating on a shoestring, with, reportedly, less than $10,000 in campaign funds. Greenwood had more than $600,000  cash in had at the end of June, according to The Hill.

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The last election, Greenwood won with 63% of the vote. That may sound daunting, but in that election, Greenwood ran against an unknown, unexperienced, un-funded contender who didn't even have his name on the ballot. Voters had to write his name in and he still got 37% of the vote.

The election of 2004 will be very different. The Democratic national committee has taken two other races where a republican incumbent vacated a congressional seat, and, against predictions, in Kentucky and South Dakota, where the odds were against them, Democrats took the open seats.

So now, here in southeastern PA we have a similar situation, in a county that voted for the democratic presidential candidate in the last two elections. So things look even better. Greenwood, in office since 1992, has been an anomaly among Tom DeLay's extremist right wing republicans. Greenwood supports abortion and has taken more liberal stands on a number of issues. That's why he survived elections that carried Clinton and Gore. But it stands likely that the new Republican party will seek to insert a candidate who meets the litmus tests on abortion, on taxes, on siding with business. That might not fly in counties where school taxes have gone sky high and real estate development is a dirty word.

Greenwood's district consists of parts of Bucks and Montgomery counties. What this means is that a lot more money will go into funding the campaign to put a democrat into Greenwood's vacated house seat. That will benefit Kerry and it will benefit Joe Hoeffel, and will probably make it even more likely that democratic governor  Ed Rendell will be able to deliver the state to Kerry and a democratic Senator and congressman to Washington.

But what if Greenwood changes his mind and stays in the race. All of a sudden, he's an almost sold out lobbyist. All of a sudden, instead of being a good guy, he has a major label. That's when it gets dicey for the DNC and Emily's list. Do they decide to start giving Ginny Schraeder funds to run a strong race against an incumbent who's shot himself in the foot?  The article in the Hill raises the possibility that Schraeder, though she won the primary, might be replaced. I don't like the idea. The powers that be should get behind her and support her big-time.  The Daily Kos's comments are in agreement. DCCC fails Schrader You can contribute to Schrader's campaign at http://actblue.com/list/schrader

Hopefully, with the cat this far out of the bag, it is a done deal for Greenwood and he's one his way to lobbyist-land. Either way, it's good news for the effort to take back the congress and send Tom DeLay back to the bug exterminating business.

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