May 20th, 2010
07:50 AM ET
8 years ago

House Republicans grumbling over loss in PA special election

There was a lot of grumbling about the party’s loss in a special election Tuesday to fill the seat held by the late Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha.

There was a lot of grumbling about the party’s loss in a special election Tuesday to fill the seat held by the late Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha.

Washington (CNN) - Two Republican sources at Wednesday’s House GOP Conference meeting tell CNN that there was a lot of grumbling about the party’s loss in a special election Tuesday for the vacant House seat in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district.

Democratic candidate Mark Critz topped Republican Tim Burns by double digits in the battle to succeed the late Democratic Rep. Jack Murtha.

“People should be rumbling – members sure were,” said one of the sources.

Both sources, one a Republican lawmaker and one a senior GOP staffer, said National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Pete Sessions took responsibility for the loss and promised to study the results and learn the lessons of the Burns’ defeat.

Both sources said they did not believe there would be an effort to replace Rep. Sessions as chairman of the NRCC, but said it was made clear there is deep dissatisfaction.

The accounts also exposed anew long festering tensions or rivalries among House Minority Leader John Boehner and some of his deputies in the leadership. The two sources, both from the more conservative factions of the House GOP caucus, noted it was the Ohio Republican who tapped Sessions for the NRCC’s top post and said most of the NRCC’s top staff have ties to Boehner.

“In baseball, general managers can only fire so many managers before their own neck is on the line – and Boehner knows that,” was the take of one of the sources, the senior GOP staffer who was at the meeting.
The source also told CNN that the NRCC “has a lot of explaining to do and frankly, needs a proctology exam. People that are paid to win races can’t keep losing them – especially now, in what is supposed to be the most favorable election cycle for Republicans in a generation.”

A senior GOP leadership aide who was present at Wednesday’s meeting said that Boehner, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor and GOP Chief Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy all expressed support for Sessions prior to Session’s remarks before the gathering. The two top House Republicans also thanked Tim Burns for the campaign he ran, according to the leadership aide.

A message left with Boehner’s spokesman was not immediately returned.

Filed under: GOP • House • JKUSA • John King USA • NRCC • Pennsylvania • Popular Posts
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. jenn,philadelphia

    Critz won because he used to work for Murtha and every body in that district wants the gravy train to keep rolling in. He probably promised to enlarge the airport out there so the 20 people who use can each have a plane in town at the same time.

    May 19, 2010 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  2. JonDie

    “In baseball, general managers can only fire so many managers before their own neck is on the line..."

    Republicans really think that running a country is like running a baseball team? No wonder Bush almost took us into the second Great Depression.

    May 19, 2010 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. Bharat Patel

    John Boehner must go from House. He never cooperate with Democratuc agenda. He has a good health insurance on my tax money. But he never think for others who dose not have any insurance. I will celebrate if he goes out.

    May 19, 2010 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  4. Livin' the good life

    Can't you hear the sounds of implosion?...Beau Colby
    (A "pray"ing Mantis and A Black widow eats it's family too.)

    May 19, 2010 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  5. jim atmadison


    Kind of a tough message to run on. I've said all along this tactic by the GOP leadership would be disastrous for them in November. This wasn't a squeaker. This was a 10 point thumping in a district that voted for John McCain in '08.

    This also shows how lousy polling is these days. Hardly anyone predicted this result in PA-12, or Sestak's sizable victory, or the low final numbers of Blanche Lincoln. Telephone polls can't reach a huge part of the electorate that don't bother with land lines any more, and a large percentage of that segment is young and liberal.

    May 19, 2010 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  6. jbakaregit

    They should be.

    They have now lost 7 special congressional special elections in a row since 2008.

    They can keep listening to that 1994-all-over-again-for-the-Dems tripe from the media if they want to. It will hurt all the more for them when it doesn't come to pass. Plus, their guy Rand Paul will split their votes in Kentucky to hand over the Senate seat to Conway. I hope Rand Paul, who was outed today for his anti-Civil Rights stance, keeps talking.

    Progressives gained big time last night, and will do the same 6 months from now. The GOP has said "no" to everything and tried to obstruct progress in this country. They will not be rewarded for it.

    May 19, 2010 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  7. Gil

    The Party of No has to face the fact that Americans are sick of them and all their no, No , No's. They haven't done anything for a year and a half and now they are trying to keep the same deregulations in place that almost bankrupted our economic system because they are so cozy with Banking, Big Business and Wall Street

    May 19, 2010 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  8. art in kingwood

    This district is so corrupt this is what is to be expected. Most of the people are on the Obama teat with no self-respect, only the expectation that the God King Obama will provide their every need. They are in for a hell of a surprise as the economy and country continue to spin out of control. There is nothing that the Imam Obama can do to save them.

    May 19, 2010 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  9. Liz the First

    Let's hope this is the first in a long line of richly deserved defeats for the party of NO, the party of fearmongering, bigotry, lies, fiscal irresponsibility, anti-environment, anti-working people, etc, ad nauseum. If the American people are dumb enough to put our beloved country back into the incompetent hands of these monsters, we deserve for it to go down the drain. They came so close to ruining it over the 8 horrible years of the bush regime and we're finally pulling it back from the brink. They can't have the country back! They broke it! it's time for the morons on the 'right' to step out of the way and let the smart people fix it.

    May 19, 2010 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  10. Chris_VA

    What can you say, but "Awwww, so sorry..."

    May 19, 2010 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  11. valwayne

    For goodness sake the district is 2 to 1 Democratic and Murtha won last time with 61%. Critz only got 53% and had to run hard against Obama and the corrupt healthcare bill to pull that out. Republicans had better figure out how to win against Democrats in Nov who lie and pretend to be against Obama and the arrogant left wing agenda. Critz only got 6 months, and his vote doesn't even matter at this point. Republicans need to come together, figure it out, and win in Nov. The Arrogant Left Wing Elites led by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid have our country on the "Road to Hell"! They have to be stopped!!!!

    May 19, 2010 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  12. No goes

    Kick the No-voters out. They're baggage is slowing us down.

    May 19, 2010 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  13. Ann

    So everything Hannity said on his radio program today was a lie? He sure did seem pretty happy with the results. I'll go with this news then.

    May 19, 2010 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  14. vwrtb

    Vote no to the party of no in November!

    May 19, 2010 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  15. Chloe in Chatsworth, CA

    The beginning of the November Republican landslide! Unfortunately for the Gopers the land isn't sliding the direction they planned.

    May 19, 2010 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  16. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    You lost so shut up. Even moron Steele's sour comments weren't a balm for the Party of Obstruction.

    May 19, 2010 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  17. harold

    What could the republicans offer anyone? ... They all said they want to Repeal the new Health Insurance reform Law.... yet they sure enjoy keeping their own Health Insurance.. They talk about big spending and big govenrment all the while ...the last time they balanced the Federal Budget was 1930.. see historynet,.com.. And as for cutting spending.. why don't the republicans just offer the USA .. the same thing they all gave us for eight years of their rule recently?.. So will republicans be loved again like they were before.. and for what reason would anyone love em?

    May 19, 2010 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  18. joel palmer

    Boehner is a loser (albeit a tanned one) and his manner is so off putting it's a wonder the gop hasn't sacked him yet.

    he will continue to turn everything he touches to merde"

    May 19, 2010 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  19. harold

    Ah too bad... What would the republicans have done for anyone while in office .. Just the same as they did back in 1930 during the great Depression.... balance the budget in 1930 the last time they did that.. and of course provide soup lines.. thin soup... but oh well...

    May 19, 2010 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  20. Mike

    Come on, the Republicans were outnumbered in this particular election by a margin of 2 to 1 but did not win by that margin. All in all it was a good showing for a Republican in that district. The Republicans have plenty to enthusiastic about and do not worry, our time is coming in November.

    May 19, 2010 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  21. Corwin7

    Maybe he forgot to tell everyone that "He drives a TRUCK" or pretend that gitmo detainees tried in tribunals don't also get "lawyered up"? Next lets have Obama go to Kentucky and mop the floor up with Rand Paul like he did the rest of the republican senators during the healthcare debate.

    May 19, 2010 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  22. darko

    democratic heavy district...nearly 2-1 over gop, and the dems ran a seemingly 'conservative' candidate... what did you think would happen?

    Not that there's such thing as a conservative democrat anymore, but that's another story...

    May 19, 2010 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  23. Pat-Indianapolis

    This really shouldn't be a surprise. McCain won the district only because he was white. I don't want to sound racist but it's true. Hillary won the district overwhelmingly in the 2008 primary. This is a true bluecollar working class conservative democratic hotbed. GOP would never have a shot unless the Democrat is not white or extreme left.

    May 19, 2010 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  24. Dave

    People aren't as dumb as the GOP wishes they were. How can we forget how GOP "leadership" hurt out country. Ran our country onto the rocks, then fought against every effort to right the ship. They hurt our People, our Families...our Country.

    May 19, 2010 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  25. Proud American

    Did the Moron's really think they would win?

    May 20, 2010 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
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