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Pennsylvania: Murtha’s Widow May Seek His Seat

Possible contenders for the seat of the late Rep. John Murtha (D) could include his widow.

Murtha died Feb. 8, and the special election for his seat is expected to be highly competitive.

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Joyce Murtha could be interested in running for the job that her husband held longer than any other Pennsylvanian.

Several other Democrats appeared to be considering the race, including former Lt. Gov. Mark Singel, former state Treasurer Barbara Hafer and Westmoreland County Commissioner Tom Ceraso.

Navy veteran Ryan Bucchianeri, who announced his primary bid well before Murtha’s death, confirmed that he 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 American CEO Mark Pasquerilla (R). 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, about 200 local Republicans and the 50 members of the Democratic State Central Committee will meet to select nominees.

Meanwhile, candidates will be collecting names on petitions to run in the May 18 primary for a full term in November.

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