New Democratic Coalition Communications Director Phil LaRue is mulling a run for retiring Rep. Jim Gerlach's (R-Pa.) seat.
LaRue, who grew up in Gerlach's southeastern Pennsylvania congressional district, told The Hill exclusively that his first thought when he heard about Gerlach's retirement announcement was that he should throw his hat in the ring.
"I'm considering a run," he said. "I want to go back home and serve the community that I love. It's home for me."
The West Goshen native and Hill staffer says he plans to talk to the New Democrats' fundraising head this evening to start planning out a possible run and wants to "build a groundswell of support with native Southeast Pennsylvanians" for a run. He also plans to talk with members of House Democratic leadership in the coming weeks about a run.
National Democrats have already been backing businessman and Army veteran Michael Parrish, but the field is likely to grow now that Gerlach is retiring. Other Democrats who might be interested in the race include 2010 and 2012 nominee Manan Trivedi, state Sen. Judy Schwank, and Sen. Bob Casey Jr.'s (D-Pa.) brother Chris Casey, who Democrats have tried to recruit to run in previous years.
LaRue says his fiscally centrist views are a good match for the suburban Philadelphia district, which Mitt Romney carried by a narrow margin in 2012, and President Obama won in 2008.
"It's a very practical place, it's a low-tax environment that still makes good investments in their schools and people while maintaining a fiscally responsible budget. They're looking for a fiscally responsible steward who has an independent mindset," he says. "We need pragmatic, non-partisan, non-ideological leaders in Washington."
LaRue is the spokesman for one of Democrats' largest organizations. The fiscally centrist New Democratic Coalition has 53 members, including two who are in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's leadership ranks — Reps. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.). DCCC Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) is also a former member of the group.