The sudden resignation of Western Pennsylvania’s most famous abortion advocate, U.S. Congressman Tim Murphy (R-18), has lots of local politicians vying to win his House seat in an upcoming special election.
At least four Republicans hope to replace Murphy, including Bridgeville’s State Senator, Guy Reschenthaler and Bridgeville’s State Representative, Jason Ortitay. Among the five Democrats who expressed their interest in the seat is former Allegheny County Councilman Mike Crossey.
But for the wannabe Murphy replacements, this won’t be as simple as getting signatures to appear on a primary election ballot. In this special election, voters won’t choose the nominees. Rather, the leaders of each party decide whose names will appear on the ballot.
Regardless of which Democrat makes it to the ballot, the candidate will face an uphill fight. The 18th district represents gerrymandering as near-art form. It spans four counties, looks like an inverted Wu-Tang logo, and is so solidly conservative that nobody has bothered to challenge Murphy in his past two elections.
Murphy, whose peculiar managerial style was widely known on Capitol Hill but not much discussed here in his district, officially leaves office on Oct. 21
The special election will take place at least 60 days after that.