Last week’s announcement that U.S. Representative Jim Gerlach plans to retire at
the end of the year after six terms in office, has touched off an early rush of speculation
as to who will run to succeed the popular Congressman.
Many election forecasters immediately moved the seat from “Safe Republican” to
“Up-For-Grabs” in this year’s election.
Gerlach, who crossed party lines on several critical votes since being elected, was
reported to be frustrated with leaving his family behind during workweeks only to see
Washington spin its wheels. He was quoted as saying “We’re just too split from a partisan
standpoint.” How sad, but true. And, there is enough blame for both Democrats
Jim Gerlach served the people of the Upper Perkiomen Valley region well when
he was the 44th District’s State Senator and many around here remember that. Now,
Washington gridlock has claimed another representative who did his best to represent
all of his constituents, not just those on the far left or far right.
The 6th Congressional District once served Chester and parts of Montgomery and
Berks counties. It was redrawn after the 2010 Census and now stretches into Lebanon.
The district covers a large slice of our readership area that includes the Montgomery
County boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg, Red Hill and Schwenksville, and New
Hanover, Limerick and Douglass townships and part of Upper Hanover Township as
well as our Berks County readers.
The first candidate to announce a run for the soon-to-be-open seat was businessman
Mike Parrish, a Chester County Democrat. In addition, Democratic State Representative
Mark Rozzi (126) who serves parts of Berks County announced that he has formed an
exploratory committee to look into running for the seat.
Berks County doctor, Manan Trivedi, a Democrat who has twice run for Congress, is
reported to be considering another try, perhaps thinking that the “third time is a charm.”
Some Republicans who have been hinted at considering a run include State Senator
John Rafferty (44), Chester County Republican chairman Val DiGiorgio, former U.S.
Senate candidate Sam Rohrer, and Exton resident Patrick Collins who is the head of
public policy at a biotech firm.
State Sen. Judy Schwank (11) of Berks County and Montgomery County Commissioner Leslie Richards were thinking about it but have reportedly decided not to run.
Other names bandied about include U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s brother Chris Casey
and Chester County Commissioner Ryan Costello, but nothing official.
One of the disheartening claims by some party officials is that the position is a “Chester
County Seat.” That should make the voters in Berks, Lebanon and Montgomery feel
good. We prefer a candidate that will serve the people they represent in a responsible
bi-partisan manner in our Nation’s capitol; no matter what county they come from.
Who will run and who will face off in November. We’ll find out in this year’s May
As far as “Safe Republican” and Up For Grabs” – we’ll find out in November.