Another controversial Bush-era U.S. Attorney is mulling a run for higher office. The Western District of Pennsylvania’s Mary Beth Buchanan is considering a bid for a House seat, according to Jim Roddey, the head of Allegheny County’s Republican Party, told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Buchanan wore multiple hats in the Bush administration, serving as the district’s top federal prosecutor since 2001 while simultaneously holding leadership positions at Department of Justice headquarters in Washington. She headed the Executive Office of United States Attorneys From 2004 to 2005, and came under scrutiny in the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation of events leading up to the 2006 U.S. Attorney firings. Democrats have also accused her of targeting Democrats for prosecution.
Last November Buchanan told local reporters she would not voluntarily step down. Roddey told The Post-Gazette that Buchanan should resign if she announces her candidacy. (Well, we’d guess so.)
If Buchanan ran, she’d join former White House aide and ex-interim Eastern Arkansas U.S. District Attorney Tim Griffin — another figure from U.S. Attorney firings scandal — in running for the House. Griffin has begun raising money for the GOP nomination against Democratic Rep. Vic Snyder in Little Rock. And former New Jersey U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (R) is locked in an acrimonious battle for governor against the incumbent, Gov. Jon Corzine (D).
Also in Pennsylvania, the Bush-appointed former U.S. Attorney in Philadelphia, Patrick Meehan, is running for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Pa.), who is mounting a Democratic primary challenge against party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter next year.
Pennsylvania Democratic Sens. Specter and Bob Casey are in charge of recommending a Democratic replacement for Buchanan to President Barack Obama. But they have yet to make any announcements.
Roddey told The Post-Gazette that Buchanan has been weighing a challenge to Rep. Jason Altmire (D), who represents Pennsylvania’s 4th congressional district, for at least a month. In addition, Buchanan is consulting with state and national GOP leaders to gauge party support and her chances are of winning, Roddey told The Post-Gazette.
Buchanan’s chances are 50-50, Roddey told The Post-Gazette, adding, “She’s in the exploratory phase right now. It will take at least a million dollars to run, so that’s a big consideration.” Roddey also told The Post-Gazette, “[Ms. Buchanan has] certainly got the name recognition, and I think a woman could do well in that district. And she’s a fresh face. … It’s generally a conservative area. A lot of them are now concerned that Obama may be a little too liberal for them. You never know. It’s still a long way to go, but I know she would be a viable candidate.”
Former Department of Homeland Security official Keith Rothfus is planning to run for the Republican nomination in the 4th district. And Mike Turzai, the state House Whip, has been mentioned as a possible candidate.