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EXCLUSIVE: Hafer running to succeed Murtha

EXCLUSIVE: Hafer running to succeed Murtha

Former state treasurer and auditor general Barbara Hafer said Monday that she will seek the House seat long held by the late Congressman John Murtha, making her the first Democrat to declare her candidacy in the wake of Murtha’s death last week.

In an exclusive interview with, Hafer said that “I will never be able to fill Murtha’s shoes, but I would be honored to follow him.”

“Of course everyone is shocked and saddened about John Murtha passing away,” she said, “but we always have to look forward and try to continue the work he has done for our state.”

Almost from the moment Murtha died of complications from gallbladder surgery last week, Hafer was mentioned as a top-tier candidate for a Democratic Party eager to hold the 12th District seat. She will bring to the race a long record in elected office, as well as a possible measure of bipartisan appeal—she was a Republican for years before switching parties in 2003. The Indiana resident is also a registered nurse, a political asset at a time when health care is still very much on the public radar. Having competed in several statewide elections, Hafer said, would give her an “excellent chance” at winning both the primary and special elections this Spring, as well as a general election for a full two-year term in November.

“I’ve been around this area for many years,” Hafer said.

Numerous other Democrats are also said to be considering the race, including former Lieutenant Governor Mark Singel. It remains to be seen how much party support Hafer has behind her. If Democratic leaders begin to line up for her, it could discourage other Democrats from jumping into the mix.

Hafer served as a commissioner in Allegheny County in the 1980s, auditor general in the 1990s and treasurer from 1997-2005. She sought the GOP nomination for governor in 2002, but after party leaders coalesced behind then-Attorney General Mike Fisher, Hafer endorsed Democrat Ed Rendell, and switched parties the next year. She was also the Republican nominee for governor against Bob Casey in 1990.

February 15, 2010 at 4:30 pm

--John Manganaro

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comments [28] | post a comment

  1. [...] Hafer to run for Murtha seat… [...]

  2. Tim

    Feb 15th, 2010

    Too liberal for the 12th.

  3. [...] Read the full story here. [...]

  4. Lowell Stokes

    Feb 15th, 2010

    Jeez, is his body cold yet?

  5. IntelligentVoter

    Feb 15th, 2010

    What an interesting year this will be!

    While her appeal on paper is exceptional – Treasurer, Auditor General, Nurse – It will be interesting to see how both parties – the old boys network once again – will treat her.

    She probably has THE best name recognition than anyone else given her previous positions. But, will others be “owed” the chance to run given their party loyalty over the years?

    Then again, is party loyalty an asset or a detriment in these times? I think it is a negative.

    In many respects, she has ticked off both parties equally and that is currently going to be very appealing to voters.

    So, all the best to Barbara!

  6. [...] Auditor General Barbara Hafer confirmed today that she had decided to enter the race to succeed Rep. Jack Murtha in the 12th Congressional [...]

  7. 12th resident

    Feb 15th, 2010

    She wont be the first democrat? Unless they mean first ONLY after Murtha has passed. Ryan Bucchianeri is also running.Thats were my vote will go for sure. Harvard Grad, Navy Vet, Young and New, free from corruption and he is a local graduation from Ringgold High School. We need jobs and stability in the 12th I think he’ll bring that.

  8. David Diano

    Feb 15th, 2010

    Ryan wasn’t afraid to run against Murtha. Why would he be afraid to run against Hafer?

    Sounds like there is going to be a primary.

  9. Tom

    Feb 15th, 2010

    Murtha’s funeral is tomorrow. Couldn’t she have waited until he was buried first? This shows a lot about the character of Hafer.

  10. David Diano

    Feb 15th, 2010

    BTW, there was a rumor going around that Barbara is not in the 12th congressional district.

    I can confirm 100% that she is in the 12th. She is in Indiana county, White Township.

    Anyone suggesting she is not, is either intentionally lying or relying upon an out-of-date voter database.

    Besides, we know from the Steve Welch race that the only requirement is residency in the State.

  11. Phillip

    Feb 15th, 2010

    What’s the big deal?Dont think for one minute Murtha would not do it to anyone else.Some one has to fill the seat.Murtha was no peach either.


    Feb 15th, 2010

    Barbara has been high profile speculation. The 12th needs a conservative dem or a moderate republican. Being from the 12th and living here for almost 30 years, Hafer brings instant name recognition and financial resources. Perfect candidate for the dems to run.


    Feb 15th, 2010

    I agree. Hafer being in the race gives the dems a good chance to win the 12th. She will have bi partisan appeal and on an election based on jobs and financial reform, she couldnt run in a better environment for her background. Bucchianeri is about as much a threat to her as he was to Murtha.

    Hafer could fit in well in the 12th i think. Like Murtha, shes not afraid to take a swat at someone. People from western PA like that toughness she brings to the table. With Jacks sudden passing, we need someone who is going to be an aggressive advocate for the district.

  14. Tyrone

    Feb 15th, 2010

    David – It is not a rumor when it is true. Hafer does not live in the 12th. Using Google Maps, it appears she lives in Country Club Estates which is located in the 9th district. The borders on this district are crazy so your mistake is an easy one to make.

  15. Margaret

    Feb 15th, 2010

    She would be a breath of fresh air-a woman in Murtha’s seat. She is well qualified and she knows how to run and election. She has been shortchanged a couple of times by the party. She is owed supportfrom the party powers that be. My only concern is if she is a good fit for Murtha’s district.

  16. [...] Will Run for Murtha's Seat PA2010 has announced that former Republican and Pennsylvania State Treasurer Barbara Hafer will run … that was occupied for 35 years by the late Jack Murtha. Hafer switched parties and became a [...]

  17. [...] PA2010 has announced that former Republican and Pennsylvania State Treasurer Barbara Hafer will run … that was occupied for 35 years by the late Jack Murtha. Hafer switched parties and became a Democrat in 2002 after endorsing now Governor Ed Rendell for the office. [...]

  18. Mr. Pilch

    Feb 15th, 2010

    When she ran in 1990 she called Bob Casey a “redneck Irishman from Scranton”.

    I wonder if she’ll get any support from Bob Casey Jr.

  19. David Diano

    Feb 15th, 2010

    No offense (okay, some) but you don’t know your @ss from a hole in the ground on this. You can’t rely on maps, and you might not have the correct address.
    I, on the other hand, have a copy of the PA State database as of Jan 25th, 2010 from the PA Dept of State. Here are the relevant fields from Barbara Hafer’s record.

    From file INDIANA FVE 20100125.txt

    Name: “HAFER” “BARBARA”
    Party: “D”
    Age: 66
    Street: GREENVIEW DR, INDIANA, PA 15701
    Precinct ID: “37010″
    School District ID: “SC200″
    Township ID: “MN37″
    Magisterial District: “MD3-1″
    Legislative District: “LG62″
    Senate District: “SN41″
    Congressional District: “CG12″
    County Code: “CO32″

    From file INDIANA Zone Codes 20100125.txt
    “INDIANA” 1 “37010″ “WHITE 1″
    “INDIANA” 4 “MN37″ “WHITE”


    Feb 16th, 2010


    Hafer certainly supported Sen. Casey against Satorum. More so, she helped him by putting the dems prospects first and not getting into a protracted primary w Casey.

    Whats more, i dont think theres any hard feelings there as bob and barb have proven team players, should be a positive draw for the dems in the 12th with strong backing.

  21. Lana

    Feb 16th, 2010

    I worked for Barbara when she was the State Treasurer and I was a Democrat and Barbara a Republican but I must say she was the best to work for. I had worked for Democrats but Barbara was the best to work for. She was fair and nice to work for. She treated me better than the Democrats did in the H of R’s

  22. [...] Will Run for Murtha’s Seat PA2010 has announced that former Republican and Pennsylvania State Treasurer Barbara Hafer will run … that was occupied for 35 years by the late Jack Murtha. Hafer switched parties and became a [...]

  23. Kevin

    Feb 16th, 2010

    I think Barbara may have a residence in the 12th, but I’m almost positive she lives in/hails from Allegheny County. At least she did when she was Treasurer.


    Feb 16th, 2010

    Barbara was FROM Alleg Co. Barbara has lived for a while in the 12th.

  25. David Diano

    Feb 16th, 2010

    We’ve got Sestak with a residence in the 7th district, but his wife and daughter really live in Virginia. Kind of like Santorum.

  26. Anonymous

    Feb 16th, 2010

    Who cares if she has Casey’s support? He’s a do nothing dope in the senate like he has always been. Go Barbara!

  27. Eve

    Feb 16th, 2010

    Her past administration should be investigated by the attorney general, Bonusgate is nothing compared to the giveaways bestowed upon much of the personnel.

  28. [...] into a two-person affair between former lieutenant governor Mark Singel and former state treasurer Barbara Hafer — two longtime players in Keystone State politics. Hafer was a Republican until 2003 (and was the [...]

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