Don’t Forget the PA Special Election When Writing the Narrative

While the focus is on the three big primaries, let’s not forget that there was a special election as well last night to fill the seat vacated as a result of the death of Democrat John Murtha, and the Democrats retained the seat.  Via the AP:  Dems win special Pa. election, retain Murtha seat:

Critz had 53 percent of the vote compared with nearly 45 percent for Burns with 70 percent of precincts reporting, dealing an early blow to GOP hopes of taking control of Congress this fall.

While the Democrats hold a large advantage registration-wise, the district went for McCain in 2008.  As such, this was seen as potential GOP pic-up, but instead it was a hold by the Democrats.

FILED UNDER: 2010 Election, US Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    So, you are surprised a candidate who’s party has a two to one registration advantage and who runs to the right of the republican candidate only indicates Democrats will misrepresent their real agendas to gain power. I am shocked this could happen. Can you imagine if Obama has run on what he intended to do rather than what he said he would do? The only thing, from a political standpoint, I can discern from this is the people of that district are easily fooled. But then they are, for the most part, democrats.

  2. That makes…7 straight Democratic wins in national elections?

  3. yetanotherjohn says:

    If Critz had lost, the 100 seat scenario would have looked very likely. With Critz’s win, the 100 seat scenario looks less likely. If you take the partisan leaning of the district in presidential elections, etc it falls in the last third of the 100 potential seats.

    Neil, care to make a substantial wager as to whether that win streak (which I think only is counting the house elections and not the Mass. election) will last another week?

  4. You know, you are absolutely right about the Mass. win. I really don’t know how I forgot about that upset. Consider my previous comment retracted.

    And I won’t take a wager because I’m completely aware that Republican wins are, in fact, coming. I’ve just been hearing for months now how its going to be a sea change, yet so far every election has been a pretty comfortable scenario for the Democrats (the Brown win withstanding).

  5. Er…notwithstanding.

  6. An Interested Party says:

    100 seat scenario? Really? Talk about hope and change, with special emphasis on hope…

  7. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Just heard there are about a hundred thousand union members in PA district 12. If Burns would have won it would have indicated divine intervention. The fact it went for McCain not Obama in 08 only speaks to their view of McCain as a centerist rather than faith in the lies presented by the Obama campaign about how he intended to govern.

  8. When the democrat wins its because of union membership, when a Republican wins its because of their great leadership?

    It’s interesting how anything is justifiable when you can ignore any part of reality that you want.

  9. An Interested Party says:

    Poor Fox News…do they ever get anything right…

  10. Juneau: says:

    It’s a pretty sad day for Democrats when they have to trumpet a win in a lame-duck special election, held in a long time democratic stronghold, that the Democrat should have won going away.

    Ever occur to you folks that a lot of the center-right citizens decided to save their energy for the November election? Just a thought… and I wouldn’t get too used to having a “D” after the name of the person who holds that seat just yet.

    Regardless, the relief shown by the left over this win has made me realize exactly how bleak they thought the outlook was for them in the Fall elections. They are saying on Politico that, suddenly, the Democrats are “back in it” somehow. Keep smoking that fairy dust Democrats – everything is going to be just fine in November 🙂