It's been very rare that Erie County has not had one of it's own serving in Congress. Most recently, we've had Tom Ridge, Phil English, and Kathy Dahlkemper.
Dahlkemper, who is a Democrat, lost last year to Republican Mike Kelly, of Butler. She says she probably won't run again. The reason...Congressional districts are being re-drawn, and redistricting favors the incumbent.
"The redistricting process is actually controlled by the state legislature. So, the State House and Senate are both controlled by Republicans. They talk to the incumbent members of Congress to find out what their desires would be for the district," Dahlkemper said.
The redistricting plan for Pennsylvania is not yet complete. However, rough drafts are being circulated. They indicate that the 3rd District will include more of Kelly's home area, and less and less of Northwest Pennsylvania.
Dahlkemper says the shift in political power, is most likely, heading South.
"I find it a concern that they're pushing the district so far south to the Pittsburgh area that I think we may lose the ability to have our Member of Congress from here in Erie County, which I think is so important to the future of our region and the future of Erie County to have that federal legislator residing here, because obviously they know the area well," she said.
Dahlkemper says if anyone was to beat Kelly, 2012 would be the year to do it. She says there is a definite anti-Congress attitude among voters right now. She says voters may want to elect someone who has never served in Congress before. But, if that person is from Erie, they would still have to overcome the obstacle that may be created by redistricting.
If Dahlkemper decides not to run, that would leave Erie attorney Ron DiNicola as the lone Democrat that has expressed interest in the seat. He has not yet decided if he will, indeed, run.