January 14, 2008 – Freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), the only Iraq war veteran in Congress, is facing a re-election fight against a colonel in the Marine reserves whose son was killed in Iraq last year.
Republican Tom Manion, 53, will be kicking off his campaign against Murphy Tuesday, according to a source familiar with his intentions. His son, Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, was killed by a sniper last April during his second tour in Iraq.
Manion appears to be an early frontrunner for the Republican nomination and has secured key support from former GOP Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, who was ousted by Murphy in 2006.
If Manion emerges as the Republican nominee, it appears increasingly likely that the campaign would be defined by the war in Iraq. Murphy highlighted his military service and opposition to the war in his successful campaign against Fitzpatrick.
Manion, on the other hand, has been an outspoken supporter of the war.
Fitzpatrick has helped prepare Manion for the campaign, introducing him to officials at the National Republican Congressional Committee. And Manion’s campaign announcement seems to all but ensure that Fitzpatrick will not be running again to recapture his old seat.
Murphy is one of the best-financed Democratic freshmen, banking over $1.05 million at the end of the third fundraising quarter.
His suburban Philadelphia district leans Democratic, giving President Bush only 48 percent of the vote in 2004.