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Blue Dog vs. Tea Party: Mid-Term Bellwether

Mid-term elections and what’s ahead for the GOP and Dems. We look through the prism of Pennsylvania’s contested 12th district.

Democrat Mark Critz, left, and Republican Tim Burns, right, are running for Congress in Pennsylvania's 12th District. (AP photos)

A political rule of thumb: sitting majorities in Washington are up against it when it comes to midterms. 

In 1994, the “Republican Revolution” in Congressional elections meant the rout of sitting Democrats. In 2006, it was George W. Bush’s GOP that took the hit. 

In midterm elections this fall, Republicans and Tea Partiers dream of drumming out Democrats. 

A key test vote comes next Tuesday, in a special election in the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, where John Murtha’s old seat is up for grabs. 

This Hour, On Point: we’re diving into Pennsylvania’s 12th district for clues to the fall campaign.

Guests:

Ron Brownstein, political director for Atlantic Media, columnist for National Journal, and author of “The Second Civil War: How Extreme Partisanship Has Paralyzed Washington and Polarized America.”

Chip Minemyer, editor-in-chief of the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat. He moderated a debate between candidates Mark Critz and Tim Burns in Johnstown, PA on May 5.

Mark Critz, Democratic candidate for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, held since 1974 by John Murtha until his death in February. Critz worked for Congressman Murtha for more than a decade.

Ann Wilson, Deputy Mayor of Johnstown, PA and a Republican supporter of candidate Tim Burns.

(NOTE: Tim Burns, Republican candidate for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District was invited to participate.)

Closing Segment:

This graduation season we’re airing excerpts from commencement addresses around the country. On Monday, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addressed 3,900 graduates at Emory University in Atlanta. He joked about Arizona and his immigration status.  He also spoke about the added responsibility of being an immigrant in America—and what it means to give back to your country.

Watch the full speech:

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Apr 24, 2015
Dick West (Dr. Walter Richard West, Wah-pah-nah-yah or Wapah Nahya, Light Foot Runner), 1912−1996, Southern Cheyenne, Oklahoma. Cheyenne Sun Dance—The Third Day, 1949. Paper, casein, 24 5/8 x 35 1/8 inches. © 2013 Philbrook Museum of Art, Inc., Museum purchase, 1949.20, Photo: John Lamberton.

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The Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department's Western District police station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Baltimore. (AP)

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