Former two-term state Treasurer and two-term state Auditor General Barbara Hafer has formed a congressional campaign finance committee according to reports in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Hafer came to the brink of declaring her candidacy for the 18th Congressional District yesterday, filing papers with the Federal Election Commission that will allow her to accept contributions for a race where total spending could approach or exceed $5 million.
Her action came after a round of meetings in Washington Wednesday with Democratic strategists and fund-raisers.
Hafer met with officials of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee along with other potential fund-raisers.
"They were very positive, very encouraging. We were received very well,'' said Hafer, who was a Republican for most of her public career, but who switched her registration to Democrat after endorsing Gov. Ed Rendell for governor.
Hafer said she expected to make a definitive announcement about her plans for the race sometime after Labor Day. She said she is moving toward a challenge to Murphy because, "he doesn't represent the district; he misrepresents it. He votes 95 percent of the time with the [Bush] administration.
"I think this will be an issue-driven race," she added.
Murphy twice has been elected easily to the seat, which includes parts of Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland counties, despite the fact that it has a Democratic registration edge.
This is great news and she will surely garner a lot of attention and be able to raise a lot of money. She will most likely have the financial and organizational support of Emily's List and other democratic women's groups, as well as NARAL, and other pro-choice groups.
This election will be the first real chance the democrats have in beating Murphy. Hafer is a tough campaigner who can raise the money necessary to compete. This race may become one of the most expensive in the country, along with the race in the PA-8 and PA-6. Consider this a toss up especially with Rendell at the top of the ticket and Casey running against Santorum for the Senate.
Apparently, the sun just keeps on shining down on the Pennsylvania Democratic Party lately!