Attorney's PA-3 bid sets up possible Dem primary

Attorney Tom Myers entered the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania’s 3rd district Monday, giving Democrats a second significant challenger to Rep. Phil English (R-Pa.) and setting up a potential primary next year.

Myers joins Kyle Foust, an Erie County councilman who announced an exploratory committee last month.

A seasoned campaigner who ran unsuccessfully to become chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) this cycle, English said neither challenger is a first-tier candidate.

Under-funded Democrat Steve Porter has fallen to English in consecutive elections, but the Democratic wave held the seven-term congressman to less than 54 percent of the vote in 2006 and made him a prime target in 2008.

In announcing his candidacy, Myers said the district needs someone new and cited English’s voting record on the Iraq war and his ties to President Bush. He also made a clear reference to the lack of strong candidates who have run against English in recent years.

“Phil English is part of the problem in Washington, not part of the solution,” Myers said. “The Democrats in our area are eager for a strong candidate with the ability to go toe-to-toe with Phil English.”

Democrats wrested four of their 30 takeovers from Pennsylvania Republicans in 2006 — not to mention one of its Senate seats — and they continue to focus on the state in their effort to expand their majority. English and fellow Keystone State Republican Reps. Tim Murphy and Charlie Dent join battle-tested Rep. Jim Gerlach as the new set of targets for Democrats.

Republicans are hoping to recapture the seats of freshman Democratic Reps. Jason Altmire, Joe Sestak, Patrick Murphy and Chris Carney, who all defeated incumbents last year.

Porter, an author and composer, spent less than $250,000 on each of the last two elections against English and won 40 percent and 42 percent of the vote, respectively. He self-financed about three-quarters of his campaign both times.

Myers and Foust will probably pack more fundraising punch and appeal to the national party.