Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Rep. Jim Gerlach Will Seek Re-Election to the 6th District . . . Where Does the News Leave Steve Welch (R) and Doug Pike (D)?

I guess by now most of you have heard that Rep Jim Gerlach will seek a fifth House term for the 6th Congressional District– having made this decision a day after he dropped out of the race for Pennsylvania governor. Gerlach made the decision to forgo his gubernatorial bid and stand for reelection to the House. When he withdrew from the Governor’s race, Gerlach explained that he did not think that the $1 million that he had raised was not enough to compete in “today’s media-driven campaigns” for a statewide election.

Gerlach had announced his gubernatorial bid last July. This recent decision to seek a fifth term in the House would seem to create an unsettling effect on the competitive 6th Congressional District contest. The local GOP had recruited Steve Welch, a local businessman and entrepreneur and he has raised $600,000 for his campaign. Former Philadelphia Inquirer editorial writer Doug Pike is the Democrat opponent for the congressional race; Pike has collected in excess of $1.1 million for his campaign.

Gerlach cannot transfer the $1 million that he raised for the governor’s race into his congressional race. Talk about a campaign bookkeeping nightmare . . . he must return the governor’s race money to his donors and then ask these people to redirect their contributions to his reelection to the House campaign. It is reported that Gerlach had less than $35,000 in his congressional account as of September 30. I assumed that he could just take the $1 million and be set for the congressional race – I was wrong, so guess he is going to be quite busy trying to turn this ship around and redirect it.

This news had me wondering how the other 6th Congressional District candidates were feeling, in partuclar frontrunners Steve Welch (R) and Doug Pike (D). Welch’s campaign website attempts to show support for Gerlach’s 6th District reelection decision, however it was also very clear that he intends to stay the course with his own campaign and remain in the race. Gerlach’s decision to seek reelection however did cause two other GOP candidates to close down their campaigns. Scott Zelov, Lower Merion Township Commission and former 6th District GOP candidate is returning his campaign contributions and giving support to Gerlach. Likewise, former 6th District GOP candidate Howard Cohen has decided to close his campaign and has signed on to the Gerlach reelection campaign.

So how does frontrunner Democrat Doug Pike feel . . . a few days ago Pike was probably feeling rather confident, especially considering that he was handily out-fundraising opponent Steve Welch? However, now Pike finds himself opposing Jim Gerlach, an incumbent with 4 terms behind him. But hearing the Gerlach decision, Pike remains committed in his own bid for the 6th District seat and his campaign will continues. Pike will face Reading doctor Manan Trivedi and Lower Merion Township Commissioner Brian Gordon in the Democratic primary.

My guess is that it has not been a good couple of days for either Pike or Welch!

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  1. I guess Jim Gerlach’s decisions to leave the governor’s race and re-enter the 6th district race are no more calculating and cynical than Senatior Specter’s, but then I won’t be voting for either of them!.

    Every two years Congressman Gerlach positions himself as that hard-working moderate – when he is hardly that. For those who missed watching the series of “tea-stained” debates on healthcare this past August, Mr. Gerlach tried his best to outdo Conservative senatorial candidate, Pat Toomey for harshest critic of President Obama’s healthcare reform bill.

    Gerlach was so sure he knew better, – but he and his colleagues had 8 years to do something about healthcare reform. And what did they do? Nothing!The issue was never even raised. On the contrary, Republicans in Congress allowed the insurance and drug companies to gain a bigger foothold and raise their prices even higher.

    No, Mr. Gerlach is a chameleon. He goes to the right, he leans just a little left. Whatever color is required. He does not believe in a woman’s right to choose and would vote to end it in a heartbeat. He calculates his every vote so that his record doesn’t appear too conservative for this district. It’s all about positioning for the next election and not about his convictions or the will of his constituents..

    Plus Gerlach has been an integral part of the hyper-partisan, just-vote-no pack in Washington. Has he put forth any real alternatives? No. In my view, he does not deserve to represent the 6th district for another two years.

    I hope blog readers will take a closer look at Dr. Manan Trivedi, the other Democratic candidate for the 6th district. Please make an effort to meet him and hear him speak. Trivedi’s experiences as a doctor and Iraqi veteran give him a different perspective. He’s a fresh voice seeking office for the right reasons. I think he represents the future for the 6th District

    Just a Tredyffrin resident fed up with what’s going on in Washinton

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