Good Monday morning.
It's a busy day already at Early Returns HQ -- Mark Critz got the endorsement over Jason Altmire from the United Steelworkers union in the (wild) Pa12 race; more on that later -- and now there's more congressional news.
Democrat Larry Maggi, a Washington County commissioner and former state trooper and sheriff, announced today that he is running for Republican Tim Murphy's seat south of Pittsburgh. He is the only known Dem candidate so far, and he'll be sitting back while Murphy deals with the attack on his right flank from GOP challenger Evan Feinberg.
UPDATE 2:30 P.M. In an interview this afternoon Maggi, 61, said he has "a burning desire for service" and wants to take the economic message from Washington County to Congress.
"It just seems there is so much going on in DC that I hear that is beyond my control as a commissioner. We've done pretty well in Washington County with jobs -- we're the third fastest growing county in the nation in job growth -- and I want to take that experience and go to D.C. I know you're one of 435 men and women, but I want to go down and do there what we've done here successfully," he said.
That success is largely due to the Marcellus Shale natural gas boom. Maggi, the chairman of the Washington County commissioners, says he supports exploration as long as it does not mistreat the environment and that natural gas firms have "been good stewards" in his experiences.
Maggi opposes President Obama's health care reform package, saying some kind of reform is needed but he does not think "what was passed was a good piece of legislation." He is anti-abortion and pro-gun (the former trooper owns 12 handguns) and as a Marine Corps vet hopes to work on veterans issues in Congress.
He ran for the seat a decade ago and lost by 9 points in the Democratic primary to Jack Machek, and he admitted to looking past the campaign toward the general election against then state Sen. Tim Murphy.. "I raised a lot of money but I kind of forgot about the primary and didn't get to go to the dance," Maggi said.
Full statement from the Maggi campaign after the jump: