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Singel to Run for Murtha’s Seat; Welch Drops Out in Pa.

Two noteworthy pieces of political news came out of opposite sides of the Keystone State on Saturday.

In the western part of the state, former Lt. Gov. Mark Singel announced he will run in the special election to replace the late Rep. John Murtha (D).

Meanwhile, back east, businessman Steve Welch said he is dropping out of the GOP primary in the suburban Philadelphia 6th district — which will give Rep. Jim Gerlach a clear (and much less expensive) shot at winning the nomination.

Welch had previously said he was staying in the race after Gerlach decided to end his gubernatorial bid and run for re-election instead. Welch’s move will allow Gerlach to build his campaign war chest back up for the general election

Singel’s decision to enter the southwestern 12th district race to replace Murtha, who died Feb. 8, may be the clearest sign yet that the Congressman’s widow has decided not to run. He had previously said that he was inclined to defer to Joyce Murtha.

Singel joins former state Treasurer Barbara Hafer and Navy veteran Ryan Bucchianeri, who are already in the race. Other Democrats weighing the race are Westmoreland County Commissioner Tom Ceraso and Cambria County Controller Ed Cernic Jr.

Hafer has also said she won’t run if Joyce Murtha does. Murtha is expected to make an announcement about her plans on Monday.

The special election will he held May 18, the same day as the state’s regularly scheduled primaries to decide nominees for the November elections.

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