Republican candidates have won significant elections in climates that were less hospitable, at least on paper, than the one surrounding the special election to replace the late John Murtha last May in PA-12, a district that voted for John McCain in 2008 and where President Obama's approval ratings barely topped 30 percent. Republican Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell won the governorships of deep blue New Jersey (with some savvy help from the RGA, who attacked Christie's independent opponent) and Virginia (another seamlessly organized and run campaign that effectively combined old and new media tactics), a state Obama carried by 7 percent. And Republican Scott Brown shockingly won the Senate seat in Massachusetts (with the help of Mitt Romney's effective political organization) formerly held by Ted Kennedy.
So it was logical that Republican Tim Burns would pick up Murtha's district for the GOP. But he didn't, and Democrat Mark Critz managed to keep Murtha's seat in the Democratic column largely because the race exposed the disorganization and lack of coordination among national and local Republican organizations. This dysfunction still exists among the GOP, and it may cause the party to lose some seats that it should win in November.