Rep. Murphy decides against PA Senate run

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) said that he would not challenge incumbent Democrat Bob Casey Jr. in Pennsylvania's Senate race next year.

In an interview with the Observer-Reporter, the five-term congressman said he didn't "have the time" to enter a Senate race, citing his duties in the Naval Reserve Medical Corps.

Murphy's name had been mentioned frequently for the run, as no proven candidate has emerged for Republicans. But Pennsylvania will likely be a tough pickup for Republicans next fall; while Democrats' poll numbers have been slipping with recent economic news, the state continues to lean Democratic. Furthermore, Casey is considered something of a centrist with crossover appeal in the state, best known for the anti-abortion-rights position that he and his father (a former Pennsylvania governor) have staked out.

A PPP poll in July showed Casey with a 12-point lead over Murphy in a hypothetical match-up.

Murphy also spoke to the paper about Congress's slipping approval ratings, and the perception that Washington has been unable to accomplish much in the face of troubled economic times.

But the congressman said that despite voters' anger, "I really have hope for this country … As tough as it is to operate under a constitutional republic, I'll take that over anything else."

Murphy also pushed back on criticism that the Republican Party has become "anti-science" — a claim originating in a spat between presidential contenders Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman over evolution and climate-change science.

Murphy seemed to side with the Texas governor, saying "scientists are not purely objective" and that science cannot be declared "by congressional fiat."