The photo above from the PG's Rebecca Droke tells it all -- nobody expected Mary Beth Buchanan to lose the 4th District primary, least of all herself.
The major sign that she was in trouble came May 6 when her finance reports showed she only raised about $13 grand from just a handful of people throughout April, and that Keith Rothfus had lapped her in fundraising. Still, she was clearly the choice of local and national Republican leaders (Jim Roddey was one of those wooing her into the race, and National Republican Congressional Committee chair Pete Sessions steered $5,000 her way), and she claimed last night that funders were saving their powder for a fall run against Jason Altmire. Here's a quote that didn't make it into the story Vivian Nereim and I have on the race in today's paper:
"A lot of people never expected me to have any issue in the primary and they were ready to support me full-force in the general election."
Her campaign website never mentioned Rothfus, rather targeting Altmire from the beginning, which perhaps underscored her sense of entitlement about the seat.
Rothfus is still a very good candidate, as his win showed last night. GOP leadership got one of their own, Mike Kelly, to win in the 3rd District race too. Here's the take from the NRCC on their candidates in the in Western Pa's 3rd and 4th congressional districts:
Kathy Dahlkemper is firmly positioned as one of Speaker Pelosi’s most loyal allies. After racking up a voting record that lines up with her party bosses more than 94% of the time, Dahlkemper’s failed to focus on one of the most important issues facing Northwestern Pennsylvania: jobs. She supported the trillion-dollar failed stimulus bill, tax hikes on middle-class families and small business owners, and a government-takeover of healthcare. She stood with Pelosi in unveiling ObamaCare, and then tossed aside her pro-life campaign promise when she caved on a phony deal that paved the way for taxpayer-funded abortions.
History & Geography: This is a traditionally GOP seat that earns an R+3 rating from Charlie Cook’s PVI. Stretching across Northwestern Pennsylvania, PA-3 is Erie-based and extends south to include portions of Armstrong and Butler counties. For the past two presidential elections, voters in this district supported the GOP ticket.
PA-04 (Rep. Jason Altmire, D)
Tonight, Keith Rothfus’s grassroots momentum propelled him to victory against a well-known and established GOP challenger. A businessman with strong family values, Rothfus is a job creator committed to delivering an economic boost to Northwest Pennsylvania by focusing on lower taxes, responsible government and paying down the debt.
Jason Altmire’s record of taxing and spending is out of touch with voters in Western PA who want job creation and fiscal responsibility. He supported the stimulus bill that failed to put people back to work, and he once again helped his party leadership when it came time to pass a budget that piled up more backbreaking debt for future generations to repay. That’s no surprise, however, because Altmire is concerned more with his career as a politician than with standing up for voters in Western Pennsylvania.
History & Geography: Charlie Cook rates this seat as R+6. Sitting outside of Pittsburgh, this district includes Murraysville and extends northwest to Beaver Falls and New Castle. McCain won this seat with an 11-point margin in 2008.