Woo-hoo! A Democrat has stepped up to take a crack at this long-shot race. His name: Bill Cahir. I don't know anything more about him than this article, but he sounds just like the right kind of candidate.
State College native and Iraq war veteran Bill Cahir, who was motivated by the Sept. 11 attacks and war on terror to join the Marine Corps reserves at age 34, plans to seek the Democratic nomination for the 5th Congressional District seat being vacated by retiring Republican U.S. Rep. John Peterson.
One potential weakness is that he doesn't currently live in the district.
Cahir enters the race with strong State College roots - his father, John Cahir, was vice provost and dean of undergraduate education at Penn State from 1993-2002. His mother, Mary Anne Cahir, was the university's chief fund-raiser in the Philadelphia region.
But Cahir hasn't lived in the district since college.
Currently living in Northern Virginia, he plans to return to his birthplace, Bellefonte, to fulfill his dream of running for Congress.
"I have to be candid, I'm moving back to my hometown in the hopes of representing my home district and at the most critical time in our nation's histroy," said Cahir.
Cahir' possible primary opponents include the current mayor of Lock Haven, Richard Vilello Jr., and Keith Bierly, a former Centre County commissioner and current chairman of the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board with many connections. Neither Vilello nor Bierly have officailly announced their candidacies.
More background on Cahir, who served in Ramadi and Fallujah from August 2004-March 2005 and again in Fallujah from September 2006-April 2007:
Before his career in journalism, which included writing for the Lebanon Daily News, Hanover Evening Sun, York Dispatch and newspapers in New Jersey and New York, Cahir worked as a staff assistant to Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee from 1990 to 1993, and as a staff assistant on health care issues for former U.S. Sen. Harris Wofford, D-Pa., from August 1993 until he left office in January 1995.
He was part of Sen. Edward Kennedy's, D-Mass., labor and economic policy team that helped pass the Family and Medical Leave Act and other laws.
He's also steeped in federal education issues including No Child Left Behind and the Individuals with Disabilities Act from three years writing for Education Daily.
Update: Another dem, Richard Vilello, has officially entered the race, as well as 2 more Republican hopefuls. See the Centre Daily Times linked above for coverage or my diaries at DKos.