A Republican win -- coupled with the party's likely triumph in a Hawaii special election four days later -- would be a hugely important symbol to the House Republican conference that the majority is actually in reach.Naturally, conservatives are downplaying the district's meaningfulness of a GOP loss there and the PA-12 results...
A loss, however, would hand Democrats a cudgel with which they could beat back the "House majority is in play" story line -- noting that Burns ran against President Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and came up short.
To quote De La Soul: "Stakes is high".
Cilizza severely downplays the counterarguments here, and overstates the stakes for Republicans. First, Republicans haven't won this district since the 1930s, and Democratic registration vastly outstrips Republican registration (most of the district that originally elected Murtha has been dismembered and placed in neighboring districts). While McCain did carry it, he only did so by 900 votes....unless they win, of course. Then it's the end of the Democrats forever.
To put it differently, there are over sixty districts represented by Democrats with better Republican performances than PA-12. The Republicans' path to 218 seats doesn't necessarily run through this district – in fact, I don't think their path to a 1994-esque 230 seats necessarily runs through this district.
A Democratic loss in this district tells me that Jacksonians really are abandoning the Democrats at the Congressional level, and all sorts of hell is about to break loose in November.Still, watch this race.