John Murtha

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John Patrick "Jack" Murtha is the Democratic U.S. Representative from the 12th Congressional District of Pennsylvania (PA-12). He was born June 17, 1932 in New Martinsville, West Virginia.

Political Career

Murtha was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1968 and served there until he was elected to Congress in a 1974 special election, winning a seat previously held by Republicans for 24 years.

Murtha has consistently won easy re-election since 1974, and is now the second-ranking Democrat on the coveted House Appropriations Committee. That means that if Democrats take control of Congress in 2006 or 2008, Murtha will be second in line to become chair of the Appropriations Committee, one of the most powerful positions in the House.

In 2002 Murtha's 12th District in southwest Pennsylvania was combined with the 20th Congressional District of fellow Democrat Frank Mascara to the west of Murtha's district. Mascara chose to face Murtha in a tough battle. Though the new seat would have been considered a toss-up between the two, Murtha's 20-year seniority advantage over Mascara and high ranking on the Appropriations Committee won out easily, and Murtha faced no serious competition in the 2002 or 2004 elections.

Despite being considered by some a conservative, as are other Democrats in Pennsylvania's delegation (Tim Holden, Paul Kanjorski, and Mike Doyle fit the same mold). In 2005 Murtha was demonized by the right for the crime of wanting to end the War in Iraq as soon as possible.

An Eagle Scout and a decorated Marine Veteran of Vietnam the GOP was terrified when Murtha both apologized for having ever allowed Bush to send American troops to Iraq and called for them to be returned home.

In the subsequent 2006 election the GOP spent a small fortune trying to defeat Murtha only to find he was reelected with ease.

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