The suburbs outside of Philadelphia have become one of the key battlegrounds of 2006, with three close House races, and the contest between Democrat Lois Murphy and incumbent Republican Jim Gerlach is perhaps the tightest of them all. Gerlach eked out a victory in 2004 against Murphy, collecting 51% of the vote. To hold his seat, he is trying to focus the race on local issues like the federal money for local roads he's brought home, and at the same time trying to link Murphy with Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco lawmaker likely to become Speaker of the House if Democrats win control. Gerlach says Pelosi and the Democrats would raise taxes and oppose measures like the Patriot Act that he says keep the country safe. Murphy, like Democrats across the country, is trying to unseat the incumbent by highlighting his support of President Bush, particularly on the Iraq War. Gerlach has tried hard to show how often he disagrees with Bush, such as his support for expanding embryonic stem cell research.
Pennsylvania: Jim Gerlach (R) v. Lois Murphy (D)