U.S. Rep. Melissa A. Hart (R., Pa.) is one of the GOP “firewall” seats.  Although Hart represents a district in a blue state, her seat was routinely considered safe, and with good reason.  In 2004, President George W. Bush carried Hart’s 4th District by a comfortable 54%-45% margin over Democratic challenger John F. Kerry.  And Hart did even better, running considerably ahead of the Republican President.  Hart easily left her Democratic opponent in the dust, cruising to a 27-point victory, 63%-36%. 

However, the national GOP – even while sorely pressed to help four other endangered incumbents elsewhere, in the eastern half of Pennsylvania,  – has begun to send resources to Hart’s suburban/exurban district outside of Pittsburgh.   In light of this development, Congressional Quarterly has opted to shift Hart’s district from the secure “Republican Favored” to the less-secure “Lean Republican”.

This development is a terrible sign, for Republicans hoping to keep control of the chamber.  Obviously, it is extraordinarily unlikely that Democratic challenger Jason Altmire will unseat Hart.  After all, Hart defeated her last challenger by 27 percentage points, running well ahead of Bush in a district which he still carried by nearly 10 percentage points.  Nonetheless, Hart’s race is one that should be a rock-solid Republican seat, and any dollars and operative efforts that flow to her race could be far better spent to help the vulnerable incumbents in the 6th, 7th, 8th, and 10th Districts, in the eastern half of the state.

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





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