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Thursday, July 01, 2004

Hoeffel Takes a Hit

Posted by Fester

The Pennsylvania Senate race is, from the Democrats' perspective, the top race of the second-tier pick-up opportunities; it is not an Illinois or an Alaska. There has been a reasonable chance of a pickup if the party maintains unity, runs a strong candidate who does not make too many if any mistakes and sees Specter spend a lot of political capital repairing the bridges buckled if not burned during a bruising primary campaign. Well, if I need to handicap the chances of a Democratic pick-up, the odds just got signficantly longer this afternoon.

Former Congressman Ron Klink (D-PA) has announced that he will be leading a "Democrats for Specter" committee. Klink is a conservative Democrat from the western part of the state. His former district has elected Melissa Hart (R-PA) for the past two cycles, and she is pretty conservative. Klink represents a large enough chunk of the state Democratic Party to give Specter some breathing room despite his low re-elect numbers. This race just got to be a lot tougher.

NOTE: Crossposted at Fester's Place.

Posted at 05:04 PM in Pennsylvania | Technorati


Argh... these Judases just drive me up a freaking wall! You almost NEVER see the GOP do something like this. (The only time I can think of anything like this was when Giuliani endorsed Cuomo in the waning days of the `94 gubernatorial race in NY. Boy did that turn out to be a mistake for Rudy.)

Does Klink even matter anymore, though? I mean, a story like this garners some headlines, and makes Hoeffel look weak (temporarily). But does Klink seriously have a lot of clout? Can our boy Joe overcome this?

Posted by: DavidNYC at July 1, 2004 06:03 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

The DSCC really is going after Klink. Apparently, Klink told Hoeffel that he was sorry but had to endorse Specter for "business" reasons (Klink's lobbying firm is on the verge of going broke, Specter in exchange is going to show it some love in exchange for the endorsement).

If Hoeffel can use this to contrast himself with the politics as usual approach of Specter, he might actually gain out of this. But that's a big "if."

Posted by: Lavoisier1794 at July 1, 2004 08:45 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

I think that this story could matter. Right now it does not matter except for a bad day of headlines for Hoeffl, which he can afford every now and then at this point. However, the result will depend on the size and prominence of the committee which Klink is forming. If the committee looks like Democrats for Bush which is Zell-out Miller and two dog catchers from Alabama, then it is harmless. My concern is that Klink is a pretty conservative Democrat from a swing region that is socially conservative. He represents a chunk of the party that is willing to listen to the wedge issue campaign that Bush is waging, and they have been willing in the past to vote Republican. Klink if he is well organized can redirect 2-4% of the state wide vote away from a Democratic ticket and towards a Republican ticket.

Posted by: fester at July 2, 2004 09:45 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

Fester, one thing. Your post seems to imply that Hart winning Klink's old district demonstrates the conservative background of Klink's district. While I agree that Klink is a conservative Democrat this isn't totally fair because the seat Klink abandoned was re-districted to make it a conservative seat for Hart's election. It isn't the same district anymore.

I think your comments above are right on. But I don't think Klink will have quite as broad an effect as you think in part because of the Presidential election which is polarizing folks out here. Whether thats for the good or not I don't know.

Posted by: seamus at July 6, 2004 02:39 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment