Diana Irey gave it a good try and failed.
Now, another GOP candidate looks ready to challenge Rep. John “In Cold Blood” Murtha. He’s an Army vet, 9/11 survivor, and small business owner:
A career Army member left the service two years short of retirement to move here and try his hand at politics by challenging longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. John Murtha.
First-time candidate William T. Russell, 45, a Republican, acknowledged that taking on a popular, 18-term congressman in the 2008 election will be “an uphill battle.”
“But it’s one that must be fought,” Russell told the Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown.
Russell plans to formally announce his candidacy within weeks. Murtha has declined comment on the challenge.
Murtha, 75, has served in the House since 1974 and is known for bringing money and jobs — especially in the defense industries — to his district in rural Pennsylvania. A decorated Vietnam veteran and Marine Reserves colonel who previously had been hawkish on war issues, Murtha has criticized the Iraq war and pushed for the troops to be brought home. He became chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee last year.
Washington County Commissioner Diana Irey ran against Murtha last year, trying to capitalize on the backlash against Murtha’s views among conservatives. She was soundly beaten in the general election.
Russell, who moved from the Washington, D.C., area to Murtha’s district specifically to take on the congressman, has a long Army and Army Reserve career that includes tours of duty in the Balkans and both Iraq wars. He and his wife, Kasia, were in the Pentagon when a hijacked airliner slammed into the building on Sept. 11, 2001. Both escaped unhurt.
Murtha’s call for troop withdrawal from Iraq “is just flat-out wrong,” Russell said. Like Irey, Russell also criticized Murtha’s public allegations that unnamed U.S. soldiers committed “cold-blooded murder and war crimes” against innocent Iraqi civilians in Haditha in 2005.
A small-business owner, Russell said he wants a local economy dependent on the free market. But he acknowledges some jobs may be lost if government contracts disappear.
Here’s Russell’s website. Here’s his “What I Believe” statement. Good stuff:
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I am a Conservative.
I believe in the sovereignty and security of this one nation, under God. I believe the primary role of government is to provide for the common defense and a legal framework to protect families and individual liberty. I believe in rugged individualism because individuals can make far better choices than any government entity in providing for families, protecting households, choosing doctors and health care plans, and deciding which teachers and schools are best for children. I believe prosperity is best ensured by what Adam Smith called the “invisible hand” of a natural, price driven economy.
I believe that we have the responsibility and obligation to control our borders and determine who is allowed to live and work in our country.
I believe that families are the foundation stone upon which all truly great societies are built. I believe that imposed systems of wealth redistribution destroy families, produce a culture of dependence, and hurt everyone. I believe in the sanctity of life and that life begins at conception. I believe in marriage between one man and one woman and that children should always be loved and sometimes spanked. I believe that all children in our school systems should be educated in English and taught the civic duties and responsibilities of citizenship and patriotism.
I believe in private property rights and that the death tax should be killed. I believe the Consumption or Fair Tax is the best and most equitable means to ensure all persons who participate in our economy, legally or illegally, pay their fair share and to reward those who build businesses or save and invest their money.
I believe in the right to bear arms and the right of self defense. Gun control and gun free zones only ensure that victims are unarmed.
I believe that no one owes me anything just because I live and breathe. I believe we should all practice charity in some form or fashion, especially to those who are suffering and least fortunate, but it must be voluntary and spring from a spirit of altruism and love for our neighbors.
Finally, I believe there is room to acknowledge the role of our Creator in public life as stated in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. The mention of God in the Pledge, and asking his blessings for our nation and our safety before ball games, classes, and public meetings does not constitute the establishment of a state religion and does not discriminate against anyone.
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