This is part of a series that Townhall.com's National Political Reporter Jillian Bandes is doing on electorally vulnerable Democrats called "Open Season."
If Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional district stands for anything, it stands for strong pro-life principles. That doesn’t bode well for Rep. Chris Carney, (D-Penn.), who voted for the health care bill and the pro-abortion language within it.
Nearly two-thirds of the residents of the PA-10 were opposed to the health care bill before its passage, and Carney was notorious for his outspoken opposition to the bill based on abortion.
On March 15, 2010, Carney gave this line to a local newspaper: “As I said publicly, I can't vote for a bill that will publicly fund abortion.”
Five days later he said this in a public release: “This bill also continues the longstanding ban on public funding for abortion, a factor that weighed heavily on my mind in recent days.”
Nothing had been changed within the bill in those 5 days besides a worthless Presidential order that arbitrarily declared the bill to withhold federal funds from abortions.
“This is a very conservative, rural district, and this is a very pro-life district. There is no wiggle room on that issue in this district,” said David Madiera, a candidate in the GOP primary to run against Carney. “People are openly saying they want Carney removed.”
Madiera, a doctor and small businessman, says that his political views are mostly in line with those of his two main competitors, U.S. Attorney, Tom Marino and 28-year old Snyder County Commissioner Malcolm Derk. After all, you can’t get very far in the 10th district without being a staunch conservative.
The GOP primary is in a tight race between the three candidates vying for the nomination. The primary is going to be held on the 18th of this month. Whoever comes out on top is going to work hard to defeat Carney, who has an impressive war-chest with no primary to compete in. There are several other issues besides health care that put him at risk, however.
First, it’s unclear that Carney can wage a campaign without relying on a faulty Republican campaign. Carney was elected in 2006 and 2008 both because of Republican scandals.
In 2006, Carney ran against ex-Rep. Don Sherwood (R) who went down over a vicious sex scandal that involved Sherwood paying off a 5-year mistress after he allegedly abused her. In 2008, Carney was able to paint executive Chris Hackett as a tax cheat, despite the fact that Hacket was found not guilty of any crimes after the election had passed.
Some analysts say that the Republican Party in Pennsylvania underestimated the power of Carney’s campaign; others say they were simply steamrolled by the cash.
Another sticking point is Carney’s support for cap-and-trade, and his talk about tolling an important interstate highway in the 10th district, which is an issue highly unpopular with voters.
“Carney was initially described as a blue-dog Democrat,” said Derk. “For the first two years in Congress, he voted 91% of the time with Pelosi, and voted for some of the most important banner issues in terms of voting with the Democrats.”