A seat in the House of Representatives may be saved from a likely Democrat victory in 2010, and a statehouse may be recaptured, thanks to a new decision. Jim Gerlach, a Republican Congressman from a suburban Philadelphia district (Pennsylvania 6), has ended his run for Governor (where he was trailing badly) and will instead run for re-election to Congress. As an open seat, Gerlach's district was heavily targeted by the Democrats, since Obama won the district by 17%, and the Cook survey rates it Democrat +4.
Gerlach routinely has tough races (he won by only 4% in 2008), but survives. The GOP has a far better shot at holding the seat with Gerlach running than in an open seat race. Gerlach's seat, along with Mark Kirk's in Illinois 10, and Mike Castle's at large seat in Delaware, were considered the three best open seat pick up opportunities for the Democrats in 2 010. Both Kirk and Castle are running for the U.S. Senate.
Gerlach's departure from the Governor's race means that Attorney General Tom Corbett has clear sailing to the GOP nomination for Governor, and won't need to spend his campaign funds on an expensive primary fight. Winning the Pennsylvania Governor's race would give the GOP a stake in the Congressional redistricting after the census, when Pennsylvania's 19 House district lines (or perhaps 18) are redrawn.