So John McClure is running for U.S. Congress. He’s going up against Lois Herr for the Democratic nomination to run against Joe Pitts in November. (Or should those Facebook links be Lois Herr, Lois Herr, and/or Joe Pitts?)

The race is in the 16th Congressional District, most of which is here in Lancaster County, PA.

The quotes from local Democratic Party officials in Tom Murse’s insightful article on the race in the Intelligencer Journal make it sound like McClure’s bid is a case study in how not to get the party’s nomination.

I have a number of open questions. Do you have insights or information?

  • What is McClure up to? He is angling for the Democratic nomination but so far appears to be doing little to win the favor of party officials. At least he sat down face-to-face with Herr to talk and to tell her of his plans.
  • How does McClure intend to frame his race against Herr? The only key issue to surface so far is abortion. Granted, that’s a biggie, but what other issues will be central?
  • Why is McClure going straight for Congress, instead of for a lower elected office?
  • On what basis is McClure estimating he can raise $1.5 million for his campaign?
  • Does McClure stand a chance against Herr? Do either of them stand any chance at all against Pitts?
  • Will the county Democratic party see this as an opportunity to encourage more “newbies” to run for elected office in the way that works best for the party? Or will the etiquette remain insider knowledge that keeps the pool of candidates small?
  • And then there’s the lingering question… Why did Pitts go back on his pledge to only serve two terms? And, why are voters supporting him as he runs for his eighth term?

8 thoughts on “John McClure’s bid for Congress – Thoughts?

  1. I am likewise intrigued by Mr. McClure’s decision to run. I’m on the fringes of being an “Insider” as a former Democratic candidate. I applaud the idea of more citizens getting involved in politics and government. I consider Lois a friend, but think a well run contested primary can actually strengthen the eventual candidate. Of course this is only if they compete by demonstrating how they will defeat Pitts rather than attacking each other. There is nothing wrong with differentiating themselves, but in my eyes, the first one to attack the other loses.

    The abortion issue is an interesting challenge to both candidates. I think Lois, either by design or just circumstance, has made a woman’s right to chose the centerpiece of her campaign. Although I agree with her on this issue, I do not think it is a strong issue on which to build a victorious campaign around in Lancaster. On the other hand, if John McClure makes being pro-life the centerpiece of his campaign, he is all but guaranteed to loss to Pitts in the General Election. McClure is not going to beat Pitts on the “Pro-Life” issue as Pitts has that end of the issue pretty well staked down.

    In the end, I welcome John McClure to the race, and believe that if the Democrats actually embrace democracy, it will only strengthen their candidate in the General Election. People are turned off by “insider” politics and like having a choice. Still, I’ll likely be voting for Lois.

  2. Thanks for your responses, Jeff and Patrick.

    Patrick, I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to how the abortion question will/would play out in this particular race.

  3. If McClure gets the nomination, that’d pretty well guarantee that abortion would not be an issue against Pitts, wouldn’t it?

    It might be better to focus the race on Pitt’s voting record – in particular, his vote against unemployment compensation. You can get away with running against welfare recipients, claiming that they’re bums who ought to go out and get jobs, but it’s kinda hard to argue that unemployment compensation recipients are at fault for their circumstances.

    I’m surprised that some Republican isn’t challenging Pitts for the nomination. Term limits aren’t his only vulnerability. He’s just another carbon copy Republican. He’s doing virtually nothing for Lancaster County that Republican representatives from Idaho and Arkansas aren’t doing.

  4. McClure make the race in interesting one from an outside perspective, mainly because of the abortion issue. I highly doubt he can raise even a quarter of the 1.5 million (or even come close).

    McClure has no experience in elected office but neither does Herr, she is party insider so it will be interesting to see how the Democrat establishment deals with the fact that they publicly promote her on their official website and not McClure.

    McClure doesn’t have a snowballs chance of getting the nomination but then again Herr doesn’t exactly have a chance of beating Pitt’s or any other republican in the 16th any time soon either.

    What will be really interesting to to watch PA’s redistricting since we will be losing a district and that could change the impact of the GOP on the 16th district. If the 16th expands east things could change dramatically. All of which depends on the local PA elections.

  5. On the unemployment compensation issue, it turns out Pitts actually voted for it. He voted against House passage of the bill because it raised taxes on employers–actually creating a disincentive to job creation. The Senate improved the bill and he voted for it on final passage. The papers, of course, only reported the first vote. If you look on his website, he has a press release explaining this.

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