Former U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan’s (R) expected bid for the seat in Pennslvania’s 7th congressional district just got a little easier.
Businessman Steven Welch, who was thought to be Meehan’s competition in the Republican primary, announced he is switching races. A blog called Pa2010.comreported that Welch instead will run for the 6th congressional district seat currently held by Rep. Jim Gerlach (R), who is running for governor. Welch yielded to pressure from Republican leaders to step aside for Meehan, who is thought be a more viable candidate, the blog said.
The 7th district seat’s current occupant, Rep. Joe Sestak (D), is challenging party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary.
Meehan, Philadelphia’s top federal prosecutor from 2001 to 2008, previously dropped plans to run for governor. But another former U.S. Attorney is now stepping into that race.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Tom Corbett is scheduled to announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor tonight, The Associated Press reported. Corbett was appointed U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania by President George H.W. Bush in 1989. He served until 1993. Gov. Tom Ridge (R) named Corbett, a long-time advisor, to complete the term of Pennsylvania Attorney General Ernie Preate in 1995. Preate was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud in connection with illegal campaign contributions from video-poker operators.
Possible Democratic candidates include businessman Tom Knox, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato and state Auditor General Jack Wagner. Current Gov. Ed Rendell (D) is term-limited and can’t run for re-election.