‘Top Line’ — PA Special Election that ‘Says Everything’

By Cullen Dirner

Apr 23, 2010 5:42pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Democrats are riding a winning streak in special elections for vacated House seats over the past year.

But that’s going to be challenged this month, where two seats that were previously held by Democrats — one in Pennsylvania, the other in Hawaii — will be filled in elections where Republicans are optimistic about their changes.

While the Hawaii race features two Democrats who may split the vote and help elect the Republican, the race, “the Pennsylvania race says everything,” USA Today’s Kathy Kiely told us today on ABC’s “Top Line.”

The race, for the late Rep. John Murtha’s western Pennsylvania seat, is in the type of district Republicans need to do well in if they’re going to gain significant ground this fall:

“Pennsylvania is always a ‘keystone’ state in any presidential election strategy or congressional election strategy. And seats like the one Murtha occupied for 36 years are key to that,” Kiely said. “This is an old, industrial, Midwest, blue-collar [district], and although John Murtha occupied the seat for 36 years, in the last presidential election it went 49 percent to 49 percent, with John McCain eking out a victory by about 800 votes.”

Former Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., made a similar point about this district on “Top Line” Wednesday: “If they can't win here, I think you have to say we have to go back to the fundamentals.”

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