by Craig Dimitri

Bad news for beleaguered ten-term incumbent Rep. Curt Weldon, on Wednesday this week.  On Nov. 1, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that apparently the national GOP has decided to attempt political “triage”, so to speak.  The Republicans have the money to saturate Philadelphia TV through the election, and conspicuously, left their entire original ad buy in Philadelphia, intact.  However, probably based on internal polling, the GOP has apparently decided to abandon Weldon, and instead concentrate on saving two other, more viable incumbents, in the expensive Philadelphia media market.

The other two endangered incumbents are freshman Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, who is fending off a challenge from Patrick Murphy (D) in the Pa.-8th CD (Bucks County), and two-term Rep. Jim Gerlach, who faces a rematch with Lois Murphy (D), whom he narrowly defeated in 2004.  That contest is for the Pa.-6th CD, a sprawling district which encompasses part of Chester, Montgomery, Delaware, and Berks Counties.

Weldon’s increasing inability to purchase ad time on his own behalf (please see my accompanying story, on that topic), must be viewed in light of the fact that the national party appears to have abandoned his district, in the hope of saving the other two. 

Throughout the election season, the NRCC has regularly run many ads, on behalf of all three Republicans.   However, it was also noted in the Inquirer, that ads originally slated for Weldon, were now being diverted to aid Fitzpatrick and Gerlach.  The clear implication of that switch: the NRCC now believes that the latter two have a better chance of survival, than Weldon does.  Accordingly, rather than waste precious dollars on a hopeless race, the national party will simply hope that the Delaware County  Republican Party, an extraordinarily effective political organization, will be able to launch a stellare get-out-the-vote (GOTV) operation in order to save Weldon.

It is often difficult to determine the true leads in House races, due to the relative scarcity of independent pollsters to cover them instead of statewide contests.  The most recent reliably independent poll, from MajorityWatch, was conducted from October 8-10, over three weeks ago.  The poll showed the contest breaking down in this way: Joe Sestak 51%, Weldon 44%, 5% undecided.  However, more recent polling in the 6th and 8th CDs, show that Gerlach and Fitzpatrick have better chances of winning. 

In addition, it can be inferred that the reason why there is more recent polling in those two CDs, is that pollsters around the nation believe those races are still very much in doubt.  And conversely, that they no longer believe the Weldon/Sestak contest is sufficiently close, to justify continuing to poll the Pa.-7th CD.

Philadelphia Inquirer: http://www.philly.com/mld/philly/news/politics/15897328.htm

Weldon official campaign site – http://www.curtweldon.org/

Sestak official campaign site – http://www.sestakforcongress.com/ 

MajorityWatch poll – http://www.majoritywatch.com/

Questions?  Comments?  Information?  You can contact Craig Dimitri at cdimitri1@yahoo.com. 

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