A one-point lead on the eve of Tuesday’s special election for Jack Murtha’s old seat in western Pennsylvania:
The special election to replace John Murtha looks to be headed for a photo finish, with Republican Tim Burns leading Democrat Mark Critz 48-47 in PPP’s final poll of the race… .
If Burns does pull out the victory on Tuesday night it will be more because of a continuing gap in interest between Democratic and Republican voters in the off year election than anything else. Critz is actually winning over more McCain voters (14%) than Burns is Obama voters (12%). This race is not an example of people who voted for Obama who are now unhappy with him and voting Republican. But those planning to vote on Tuesday report having voted for John McCain by 5 points in 2008, compared to his actual 1 point victory in the district. And among voters who say they’re ‘very excited’ to vote in this election, Burns has a 60-38 lead.
Republicans are pulling out all the stops in Pennsylvania’s 12th District, as Amy Crawford reports for the New Republic:
Twelve hours a day for several weeks now, supporters of Tim Burns, the GOP’s candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s Twelfth district, have staffed a call center in a mostly-vacant office building in downtown Washington, PA. Bundles of phone cables hang from the ceiling, and the walls are decorated with navy “Tim Burns for Congress” signs and an American flag. “If he wins, he’s going to go to Washington and slow down the massive spending,” avowed Chris Burdick, 21, who had driven up from West Virginia to make calls.
Like Burdick, volunteers have come from out of town after learning about Burns on conservative websites and from Fox News. Across the country, other Burns supporters are using the campaign’s call-from-home program, which allows them to reach voters in southwest Pennsylvania from kitchen tables and living room couches as far away as California. Burns strategist Kent Gates is unapologetic about the outsiders. “This is a national election,” he declares… .
Two weeks ago, I got these photos inside the GOP’s phone center in PA-12:
Douglas Cannon, 20, from Boca Raton, Fla., is a student at Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. This kid’s so fast on the phone, the camera blurred!
This is enthusiastic Burns volunteer Margaret, an immigrant from Scotland who’s only been a U.S. citizen for four years. She says, “I love the Constitution, and I don’t want it changed!”
To give you an idea of how intense the PA-12 campaign has become: Last night, I got a message from a Republican volunteer from Georgia who had been sent out Sunday to do a door-to-door canvass — and discovered she was knocking on doors of homes that had been canvassed as recently as Friday.
This is saturation-level campaigning. Friday, Scott Brown came in for a rally with Burns:
Yesterday, the Democrats brought in Bill Clinton for a Johnstown rally, but the faded Clinton magic may not be the best hope for Mark Critz, as John McCormack at the Weekly Standard points out:
[O]ne advantage for Critz: Democratic turnout in the western Pennsylvania district may be boosted by a competitive Democratic senatorial primary between Joe Sestak and Arlen Specter (Pat Toomey has no serious competition for the GOP nomination).