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Gerlach Goes For Pennsylvania Governor, Democrats Eye His District

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Jim Gerlach

Rep. Jim Gerlach , a four-term Republican from near Philadelphia, has officially entered the 2010 open-seat race for governor of Pennsylvania.

Gerlach’s announcement on Tuesday gives the Republican primary field a battle-tested political pro — but also leaves open his seat in the 6th Congressional District, a partisan battleground that almost certainly will prompt one of next year’s strongest takeover attempts by the House Democratic majority.  

The 54-year-old Gerlach is running to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Edward G. Rendell . He is entering a 2010 Republican primary, to be held next May, that probably will include state Attorney General Tom Corbett and former U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan . The Democratic primary probably will include state Auditor General Jack Wagner ; Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato , whose home base includes Pittsburgh; and Philadelphia businessman Tom Knox .