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Pennsylvania: Magazine Editor to Run Against Gerlach

Philadelphia magazine editor Larry Platt is planning a bid against Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) and an announcement is forthcoming next month, according to a Pennsylvania Democratic operative with knowledge of the race.

“He’s certainly moving ahead and finishing his due diligence, but we certainly expect that he will be running,” the Democrat said.

Until Platt’s anticipated announcement early next year, Democrats have been left searching for a candidate to run against the three-term Member in the southeast Pennsylvania district.

Attorney Lois Murphy (D) came close to defeating Gerlach in 2004 and 2006, but she lost the race despite outspending him the second time around.

“Democrats continue to futilely salivate over this seat, despite multiple attempts and failures at trying to beat Jim Gerlach — 2008 will be no different,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokeswoman Julie Shutley. “Representative Gerlach is a strong, independent voice for the people of Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District and has a real record of delivering for Southeastern Pennsylvania.”

Local Democrats are hopeful that Platt’s connections in the wealthy Philadelphia suburbs will be the ticket to defeating Gerlach in a district that voted for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. Platt’s office did not return requests for comment.

“Larry certainly would be the kind of candidates that we’re looking for in running,” said Marcel Groen, who chairs the Democratic Party of Montgomery County, part of which is in the district.

“We think that it’s clear that the voters of the district have not accepted Jim Gerlach after three terms and it’s time to make a change.”

— Shira Toeplitz

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