Democrats are concerned about the outcome of the Massachusetts special election that resulted in a come-from-behind win for State Senator Scott Brown. As pundits are now saying, no seat is safe. Republicans are feeling emboldened by the win. Pundits wisely point out that incumbent Republicans should still be cautious since the political mood is best described as anti-incumbent as opposed to being in favor of any one party.
But what does a special Senate election in Massachusetts have to do with local politics in Pennsylvania? Quite a lot, actually.
The anticipated struggle of incumbents and mood that independents could continue to break right-of-center this year means that retirements will likely kick into high gear over the next month or two. Already, we have witnessed the announcements of a handful of NRA A or A+ rated incumbents who will not seek re-election in the fall.
- Speaker of the House Keith McCall (D-122)
Rep. Paul Clymer (R-105)
- Rep. Merle Phillips (R-108)
- Rep. Russ Fairchild (R-85)
- Rep. Katie True (R-41)
- Rep. Will Gabig (R-199)
- Rep. Don Walko (D-20)
- Rep. Craig Dally (R-138)
- Rep. Rich Grucela (D-137)
- Sen. Ray Musto (D-14)
Some may be retiring hoping that their seat is more likely to stay in the hands of their current party. Others may anticipate challenges during either a primary or general election. Regardless, the retirement announcements are not likely to let up anytime soon. At least four anti-gun incumbents (NRA D rated or lower) also plan to leave office in 2010.
- Rep. Mario Civera (R-164)
- Rep. Barbara McIlvaine Smith (D-156)
- Rep. Kathy Manderino (D-194)
- Rep. Tony Melio (D-141)
The Pennsylvania election calendar gives incumbents some time to delay their announcements into the new year. Nominating petitions (to run on a party primary ballot) are not due until early March. If more incumbents get nervous, expect to see more retirement announcements through the next few weeks.
But before we get to voting booth, now is the time to make sure that your voter registration is up to date. If you have moved, even if you still reside in the same legislative districts, you will need to update your registration. Perhaps you haven’t voted in a while, it might be a good time to double check your registration status.
As a voter, you should also be reminded that Pennsylvania has a closed primary system – only voters registered with a specific party may vote in that party’s primary election. If you are currently a member of a minor party or unaffiliated with any party, you may switch your registration to participate in a major party primary race.
The primary races in Pennsylvania will be held on May 18, but you must be registered with a party by April 19. For more information about registering to vote, visit the Pennsylvania Department of State’s voter education website.
UPDATE: Word now comes that pro-gun Rep. Paul Clymer will run for re-election.
UPDATE II: And the retirements continue with Sen. Ray Musto and Rep. Will Gabig, two A rated voices in Harrisburg.
UPDATE III: I’ll stop updating this post at the end of January. In the meantime, anti-Second Amendment Rep. Anthony Melio is retiring from his Bucks County seat.
UPDATE IV: Thanks to collective efforts in the political blogosphere, we believe we’ve rounded out the list as of the end of January. This list now includes Reps. Don Walko, Craig Dally, and Rich Grucela. All held A ratings from NRA.