Congressman (and supporter of abortions for mistresses) Tim Murphy (R) has resigned, effective in two weeks. The decision was likely forced by the area’s party bosses who want the ability to hand-pick the next Rep. – nominations for PA specials are handled through a cabal of insiders rather than going through an open primary. That candidate is almost certain to be State Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R), who entered the race today and now looks like the very strong favorite to be the next Rep. However, the decision is fraught with some potential issues, as Democrats likely have a better (though still tiny) shot at this seat in an ultra-low-turnout special than in the general election, thanks to the currently highly-motivated liberal base. There is also the possibility an antiestablishment conservative like State Rep. Rick Saccone (R) could play spoiler by running as a conservative Indie. However, to compete here, Democrats will need to find someone capable of getting their campaign up to speed on a condensed time frame. Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has wide latitude to set the special election; as it is likely too late to be consolidated with the regular municipal and judicial elections next month, we might bet on a special election sometime in the winter or early spring – though theoretically Wolf could delay the race to as late as the May 15th primary, which would throw the nomination for a full term back to open-seat status.
Update: A wrench has been thrown into the works as State Sen. Kim Ward (R) is also running and likely to have significant establishment support. This could have the makings of a nasty pie fight.