Sabato's Crystal Ball

Pennsylvania (08) House 2010

 

Crystal Ball Outlook: Leans R

Democratic candidate: Patrick Murphy, Incumbent

Republican candidate: Mike Fitzpatrick, attorney and former Representative

Recent updates from the Crystal Ball

Update: October 5th, 2010

In 2006, Democrat Patrick Murphy unseated one-term Republican Mike Fitzpatrick by less than one percentage-point in a heavily Democratic year. After an easy 2008 victory, he now faces a tough rematch of the 2006 race in his first campaign where the national political atmosphere will be working against him instead of for him. Independent polling shows Murphy trailing, while his own polls show him with a statistically insignificant lead. In a year like 2010, that is too close for comfort, prompting a Crystal Ball rating change from Toss-Up to Leans R.

Background:

Democratic incumbent Patrick Murphy will face off against Republican challenger Mike Fitzpatrick in a rematch from 2006, and again Murphy hopes to win another term to represent Pennsylvania’s 8th District. In recent years, the district has become slightly democratic. The first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress, Murphy is a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence committees and a moderate on social issues. Still, 97.2% of his votes during the current Congress have been party line votes and some of his votes may be a liability for him in the upcoming election.

Mike Fitzpatrick, the Republican candidate, has the advantage of running for his old seat during a time of anti-incumbent fervor. He must raise more money but by reaching out to voters and drawing contrasts with his opponent, Fitzpatrick has the potential to make this race very competitive.