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I reported two weeks ago today that Rep. Melissa Hart, Rick Santorum's evil twin sister in Pennsylvania's 4th Congressional District, conducted a poll 3 weeks earlier (5, at this point) but had yet to release the results.

Now we know why: she is petrified of what she found.

According to a new poll conducted for Jason Altmire, Hart's Democratic challenger, by Anzalone-Liszt Research, Altmire is now at 48-44 - in favor of Hart, but within the 4.9% margin of error.

This is truly a remarkable turn of events. As I've explained in previous posts, there were some early indications that this could be a real race, including a poll a few months ago that put the contest at 55-39 in Hart's favor. That result came despite Altmire running no media ads (YET) and having little name recognition outside of local Pa. political circles.

However, Altmire has been waging a fierce -- and very traditional -- ground war, meeting with local leaders and canvassing key neighborhoods throughout the entire district.

But Altmire has been bringing in some good money. He had a good last quarter and my understanding is that he is continuing to bring in money - even from some Republicans - at an excellent clip.  

In the very near future, that money will be used to start whatever kind of media blitz can be bought with the money he has on hand - which, admittedly, will be significantly less than what Hart will have in her coffers.

The most important point here is this: For the first time since she was elected to the House, Hart has a real race on her hands. And that's a very sad statement, because the majority of registered voters in PA-04 are Democrats.

BUT, it also means that, with a respectable amount of money and some committed volunteers, Altmire can get out the Democratic vote and win this election.

Altmire has serious health care expertise, including having served on President Clinton's health care task force in the early 1990s. To enter this race, he quit what was likely a darn good paying gig as the chief government/community relations guy for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the largest health care organization in western Pa. by far. Pittsburgh is a small city. Gigs like that are few and far between here. So Altmire's in it to win it.

Altmire is pro-life, but strongly in favor of greater funding for embryonic stem cell research, and for moving toward universal health care. While he has not been as outspoken on Iraq as I'd say most of us might like, when he does talk about it, he hits all of the right notes.

The last financial reporting cycle ends on Sept. 30. So if you're on ActBlue and you have an extra $10 or $20 (or more!), throw it Jason Altmire's way. Given these most recent poll results, it may send one more rubber stamper packing.

Originally posted to Whigsboy on Fri Sep 22, 2006 at 05:28 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Buy ads on cable (4+ / 0-)

    As Kos wrote recently, less expensive, more focused...

    Darcy Burner for Congress WA-08

    by Alan Arizona on Fri Sep 22, 2006 at 05:46:34 AM PDT

  •  This is great news! (0+ / 0-)

    I'm originally from Hermitage, which is on the northern border of PA-04, located in PA-03, in the community known as the Shenango Valley.  The Shenango Valley was split between PA-03 and PA-04, putting Farrell, PA on the northern edge of a district that snakes eighty miles southward into Pittsburgh.  Nothing against Pittsburgh (go, Stillers!) but this renders Farrell somewhat irrelevant, and doesn't do much to inspire the folks there to vote.

    Melissa Hart doesn't care about the busted old industrial town of Farrell, nor about the rest of the Shenango Valley (which is represented by Bush drone Phil English, who doesn't care about it, either.)  I hope that in 2011 we can undo this gerrymander and reunite the Shenango Valley.  And I hope you guys oust Melissa Hart this year!  (I'd love to see Phil English go, too, but first things first...)

    A conservative is just a liberal who hasn't needed a second chance yet.

    by Larry McAwful on Fri Sep 22, 2006 at 06:39:13 AM PDT

  •  I met Altmire yesterday (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am very impressed.  He came to a gathering of about 15 dems in Franklin Park to answer questions and he is the real deal.

    For those who dont know, those  15 of the 20 or so total democrats in Franklin Park.

    •  good to hear (0+ / 0-)

      If you're having future meetings, let me know. I have been unable to attend every event at which Altmire has been scheduled - I guess two young kids and two working parents will create those sort of scheduling conflicts :D

      Life is too short to eat undelicious food. Sample a Lusty Bit @

      by Whigsboy on Wed Sep 27, 2006 at 05:03:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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