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Pennsylvania: Army Vet Preparing to Challenge Rep. Murtha

An Army veteran is preparing to announce his candidacy against 18-term Rep. John Murtha (D), according to a report Monday by the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat.

William Russell (R) reportedly left the Army and Washington, D.C., in order to move to the district and run against Murtha. The southwestern Pennsylvania newspaper said Russell will announce his candidacy “within weeks.”

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) won Murtha’s district with 51 percent in 2004. A Vietnam veteran himself, Murtha holds the chairman’s gavel on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.

Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey (R) ran against Murtha in 2006, but despite the national attention she got, the Congressman safely kept his seat with 61 percent of the vote.

— Shira Toeplitz

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