John Murtha hospitalized, political future in doubt?

Chris Cillizza
Washington Post
February 2, 2010

The news that Rep. John Murtha is in intensive care following complications from gall bladder surgery last week is sure to stoke rumors that the longtime Pennsylvania Democrat may choose to retire rather than run for re-election to a 19th full term in November.

Murtha’s hospitalization, which was first reported by Politico’s David Rogers, lands just days after his fourth quarter fundraising report — just $100,000 raised in the final three months of 2009 with $388,000 in the bank — had raised some eyebrows among national strategists about the possibility that Murtha, at 77 years old, might not be fully committed to running again.

The simple fact — as Republicans acknowledge privately — is that as long as Murtha is on the ballot in the western Pennsylvania 12th district, he cannot be beaten. Murtha was first elected to the seat in a 1974(!) special election and since then has rarely faced a real challenge — with the exception of a redistricting-forced primary fight in 2002 against then Rep. Frank Mascara (D) that Murtha easily won.

Without Murtha seeking re-election, however, the district would be extremely competitive…

The article continues at the Washington Post.

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