Congressional race heats up in the 8th District

July 1, 2008 4:09:12 PM PDT
Of course, everyone is fixated by the presidential election. But voters in Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District have another choice to make. 1st term incumbent Patrick Murphy slammed President Bush on the state of the U.S. economy today, seizing the hot button issue of the summer.

At a gas station in Bristol Rep. Murphy told those in attendance, "We need leadership in Washington who are going to be straight with the American people. We send $25-billion a year to the Middle East for their oil."

Pharmaceutical executive and retired Marine Tom Manion is Murphy's GOP challenger. Today, he too was emphasizing the crisis in gas prices.

"Today I call on Congress to act and to pass a plan that includes expanding exploration, increasing alternative energy solutions, and to include more incentives for conservation," said Manion.

The 8th Congressional District is all of Bucks County, plus Democratic dominated slices of Northeast Philadelphia and Montgomery County.

The Democrats have been surging in the 8th Congressional District. For the first time in 30 years the number of registered Democrats has surpassed registered Republicans.

Murphy, who won a razor thin victory 2 years ago, is elated there are now more than 8,000 Democrats than Republicans on the voter rolls. In 2006 the GOP was up 28,000.

Tom Manion, in general, supports the Bush/McCain position on the war in Iraq. He lost a son, Travis who was on combat duty there.

Murphy, a former captain of the 82nd Airborne, came to prominence as a critic of the war, putting him at odds with Manion.

Manion said of Murphy, "He's for a timed withdrawal. And I think we really need to understand the consequences of that. And if we pull out before we stabilize that part of the world, we're gonna have to find ourselves back there in a few years."

Murphy tells Action News he is on a hit list of what he calls Shadowy, right wing, pro-war, Swiftboat political action committees who are willing to spend millions to make an example of him.

Murphy says, "They look at my stance on not voting for a blank check in Iraq, and other issues. And I think I'm one of the targets."

Look for lots of fireworks in the 8th Districts Congressional race this fall.