PA-06: Gerlach Sets Up Gubernatorial Exploratory Committee
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Feb 05, 2009 at 02:40:43 PM EST
The Democrats have tried hard in recent cycles -- unsuccessfully -- to knock off Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Jim Gerlach, who represents a Philadelphia-area district that leans Democratic (with a PVI of D+2). Perhaps now they'll have a chance to finally win the seat.
Jim Gerlach, a Republican congressman who has proven his political mettle in a Democratic Philadelphia-area district, is one step closer to running for governor of Pennsylvania in 2010.
Gerlach announced he is forming an exploratory committee so he can raise funds for a potential gubernatorial campaign.
In a statement, Gerlach said he will be making a final decision to "formally move forward with a campaign for governor" by late spring.
Despite the fact that the Democrats toned down their previously strenuous efforts to go after Jim Gerlach in 2008, the Republican incumbent won reelection with just 52 percent last November. And per Swing State Project, Barack Obama carried Gerlach's sixth district by an overwhelming 58 percent to 41 percent margin over John McCain, suggesting that not only is the district amenable to voting Democratic (at least when excluding challengers to Gerlach) but that it is trending even more Democratic (voting 5 percentage points more Democratic than the nation as a whole in 2008, up from the 2-point lean in the previous PVI). So if Gerlach does indeed move forward with a gubernatorial bid, abandoning a reelection effort, this race will likely lean Democratic.