John Murtha Seat in Trouble?
Academic Elephant reports that a new Public Opinion Strategies* poll has Republican challenger Diana Irey pulling within ten points of 30-year incumbent John Murtha for the PA-12 seat. While 55%-45% is a very comfortable lead less than four weeks from the election, he had a thirty point lead not long ago, has been transformed into a household name by his grandstanding on the Iraq War, and was considered unbeatable.
Given the general unpopularity of the war, one would think Murtha’s anti-war stance would be helping, not hurting. Presumably, though, his inflammatory language has hurt him. It’s a delicate balancing act to campaign against a war in which our troops are presently fighting and dying.
Looking at AE’s post and his link to Irey’s website, most of the campaigning against Murtha is focusing on three issues: Murtha’s intemperate remarks about the war, Murtha’s role in the 26-year-old ABSCAM scandal, and the fact that Congress has raised its pay considerably during Murtha’s tenure.
The last issue is one that I find really annoying–one would hope any job would pay a lot more now than in 1980 and Members make rather little money compared to others in positions of similar prestige–but it never fails to resonate with the electorate. I’m surprised that ABSCAM is still getting any traction, given that Murtha has been re-elected 12 times since then and that Keating 5 doesn’t seem to be hurting John McCain.
UPDATE: AllahPundit notes ABSCAM is “more recent than the racial slur allegations Dems have been tossing at George Allen.” True that.
*Full disclosure/disclaimer: My wife is a VP at the firm. This is the first I’ve heard of the results; indeed, I wasn’t aware Irey was a client.