We already know that Democrats are going to attack PA-3 freshman Mike Kelly over the House budget plan for Medicare -- because the DCCC did so in robocalls already, even before Democrat Kathy Hochul rode the issue to a special election win yesterday in a Republican-dominated western New York congressional district.
Where it gets interesting is, in their delight over the upset, Democrats are now saying they could expand the field for their assault to every district that has a smaller Republican edge than NY-26. That includes Tim Murphy's PA-18 south of Pittsburgh. (Murphy explains his vote to Dan Malloy here.)
The state's Dem committee helpfully provided the following list of districts with partisan voting indexes more moderate than or equal to that in NY-26:
PA18 - Murphy
PA3 - Kelly
PA8 - Fitzpatrick
PA15 - Dent
PA7 - Meehan
PA6 - Gerlach
PA11 - Barletta
We'll believe it when we see it. Murphy's never faced a close race, despite being in a district with a Democratic registration edge.
Back to Kelly. While Hochul, pictured above, is from Erie County, N.Y., the district doesn't share a border with the Pa district containing the real Erie and home to vanquished Democrat Kathy Dahlkemper. But should she run again against Kelly, it should be pretty easy for her to write the attacks on his vote on the Medicare vouchers -- all she has to do is flip the script on the health care reform attacks she sustained in 2010. And replace John Boehner's name in the national GOP ads tying her to Nancy Pelosi. And ride along with Obama's GOTV operation, as she did when she first won the seat in 2008.
Like fellow 2010 loser Keith Rothfus down south in PA-4, Dahlkemper (or any Democratic challenger) will also have to weigh how congressional lines are drawn. Kelly is expected to pick up some Republican votes near his home in Butler, but that won't be known for sure until late this year.
Photo: Democrat Kathy Hochul wins N.Y. congressional race. AP/WashPost photo.