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Inside Politics

Gerlach wins re-election in Penn.

Close race in Pennsylvania 6th Congressional District


story.jim.gerlach.jpg
Polls before the election showed Rep. Jim Gerlach with a wide lead.
SPECIAL REPORT
House: PA 06 Updated: 5:32 p.m. ET
Gerlach 51%
Murphy 49%
100% precincts reporting
Election Results Main Page

(CNN) -- Incumbent Republican freshman Rep. Jim Gerlach, fended off challenger, attorney Lois Murphy to keep his House seat in Pennsylvania's 6th District.

Gerlach, a former state representative who pulled off a narrow win in 2002, followed that with his narrow victory in 2004.

The suburban Philadelphia district remains a GOP stronghold, despite signs of moving more Democratic. Political experts considered the race for the 6th, which covers parts of Montgomery, Chester and Berks Counties and one precinct in Lehigh County, Gerlach's to lose. In his first race for the seat two years ago, he won 51 percent of the vote.

Murphy, a relatively unknown entity in a very big and expensive media market, made a big splash in June, when she was one of four congressional candidates endorsed by MoveOn.org. The organization had captured the attention of the political world by helping to transform obscure Vermont governor Howard Dean into the front-runner for the Democratic nomination for president.

Unfortunately for Murphy, that support carried little weight in her race.

While Gerlach is hardly a household name, he was becoming more established in the district, and hadn't made any significant blunders or missteps in his first term that could provide fuel for Murphy.

To the contrary, his voting record, especially on environmental issues, gave him ammunition to fight off charges that he was just a shill for national Republicans.

Gerlach was one of just a handful of Republicans to vote against the recent Federal Marriage Amendment.

During a late-October debate, Gerlach pointed to his vote against drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, while the Murphy camp argued that her recent endorsement by the Sierra Club made her a stronger candidate for environmentalists.


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