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Friday, August 13, 2010

No longer laboring under delusions about Murphy

Posted By on Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Bit of a knock Tim Murphy, the Congressman whose posturing on Medicaid and education spending I made fun of just a few days ago.

The state AFL-CIO is endorsing his long-shot rival, Democrat Dan Connolly. 

Now ordinarily, labor backing a Democrat wouldn't be much of a story. (And in fact, Allegheny County's labor council backed Connolly back in spring.) But labor unions have typically supported Murphy; when the state AFL-CIO backed him in 2006, for example, the organization noted that he'd voted their way on labor issues nearly three-quarters of the time. It endorsed him in 2008 as well. (A year in which his voting record earned a mere 48 percent from the American Conservative Union, down from a 76 rating over the course of his career.)

Is this going to turn the race around? Ehhhhhhh ... 

Connolly himself surely knows the challenges here. He was the finance director for Murphy's last challenger, Steve O'Donnell. O'Donnell earned some labor support too, but got creamed despite Connolly's own online-circulated claims that  he had "a real chance" to win.

And O'Donnell had more grounds for optimism: In 2008, the prevailing winds were blowing in favor of the Democrats. That's not true this year. And as Connolly's letter noted back then, there were some ethics-related allegations making the rounds against Murphy. None of that amounted to anything, and it's ancient history now. 

And just as O'Donnell did, Connolly faces a serious fundraising gap: Murphy has a 10-to-1 fundraising advantage.

So yeah, there's plenty of reason to be pessimistic, especially since vast swaths of the 18th district probably don't know Dan Connolly's name. But on the bright side, at least labor now seems to have Tim Murphy's number.

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