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Murtha’s Widow, Others Consider Special Election

Several Democrats are considering running in the special election to replace the late Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), including his widow, and the race is expected to be highly competitive.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Friday that Joyce Murtha is interested in running to succeed her husband, who died Monday. Other possible Democratic candidates include former Lt. Gov. Mark Singel, former state Treasurer Barbara Hafer and Westmoreland County Commissioner Tom Ceraso.

Navy veteran Ryan Bucchianeri, who announced he would challenge Murtha in the Democratic primary well before the Congressman’s death, is continuing his campaign. Democrats have indicated, however, that Ceraso and Bucchianeri are not their top choices for the nomination.

Two Republicans were in the race before Murtha’s death: businessman Tim Burns and 2008 GOP nominee Bill Russell.

State Rep. Dave Reed (R) is looking at the race, as is Crown America CEO Mark Pasquerilla. As the head of one of the largest real estate and hotel companies in the country, Pasquerilla could finance his own bid — an attractive quality for House Republicans, who are strapped for cash heading into the 2010 midterm elections.

After Gov. Ed Rendell (D) sets a date for the special election, which could be held in May, about 200 local Republicans and the 50 members of the Democratic Party’s State Central Committee will meet to select their nominees.

Meanwhile, candidates running in the special will be collecting names for petitions to run in the May 18 primary, which will decide the nominees for the November general election.

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