Murtha's Widow May Assume Congressional Vacancy
There are several interesting twists occurring in Congressional races throughout the nation. In the NY23 Congressional race last fall, the Republican party apparatus selected DeDe Scozzafava to run for office. Doug Hoffman, Air Force veteran and disgruntled Republican, ran with a third party and, with help from other disgruntled Republicans and Independents, was barely edged out. It probably didn't help when devoted Republican, Scozzafava, endorsed the Democrat. One might question if there truly is a difference between parties.
In the blue state of Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown, National Guard veteran, with minimal help from his own party, came from nowhere and soundly defeated Democrat Martha Coakley for the Senate seat originally inherited by Ted Kennedy.
Now, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, it appears the Democratic party in Pennsylvania may select John Murtha's widow, Joyce Murtha, who is approaching 80 years of age, to replace him in Congress.
The Pittsburgh Tribune Review listed her qualifications: "She is a breast cancer survivor, and the Joyce Murtha Breast Care Center in Windber is named for her. The Marine Corps recognized her for civic contributions; the YWCA, for her advocacy of women. She is active in a Girl Scout council."
Apparently, 46 of the 260 women who have served in Congress directly succeeded their husbands after death. The Pittsburg Tribune Review continues:
"Spouses usually win campaigns to succeed their husbands or wives in office, Brauer said. That's because name recognition and constituent affinity for the family are typically strong, and voters can perceive it as distasteful for opponents to attack the family member as a candidate, he said."
The four way Congressional Race in our own 8th District, Missouri, has several unique aspects to it as well.