Northwestern Pa has long supported both Democrats and Republicans*, which is one of the reasons why candidates there strive to be seen as moderates. Tom Ridge and Phil English were moderate Republicans and Kathy Dahlkemper is a Blue Dog Democrat who voted against cap-and-trade but for the stimulus and health care reform.
(That strategy may be changing for the GOP, as a moderate Republican would have a tough time getting on the ballot today. Some of the party faithful said last week they stayed out of the 2008 race because English wasn't conservative enough.)
Dahlkemper will be pushing her centrist credentials come November, and here's a preview of the kinds of things we'll see then, this time from her DC office:
Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper continued her commitment to fiscal responsibility and discipline by voting to stop automatic pay increases for Members of Congress in FY 2011. This is another step Rep. Dahlkemper has taken to reduce unnecessary spending and take on the federal deficit. Last year, Rep. Dahlkemper cosponsored H.R. 156, legislation that ultimately blocked last year’s FY 2010 pay raise, donated the FY 2009 pay raise to charity and returned unused office funds to the U.S. Treasury.
“With unemployment still too high and the economy rebuilding, families in my district are being forced to make hard decisions and cut spending to make ends meet. Washington should do the same. That’s why I voted to block a pay raise for Members of Congress. Our focus must remain on getting people back to work, strengthening our economy, and reducing the deficit. Pay raises for Members of Congress have no place in that plan,” said Rep. Dahlkemper.
* Dahlkemper won in 2008, while Republican John McCain took the district's presidential vote. Erie County voted for both Rick Santorum and Ed Rendell in 2000, and for John Kerry and (then Republican) Arlen Specter in 2004.