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.


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:

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Oct 6, 2015
Eric Baker, co-owner of the Mo Money Pawn Shop, poses for a photo at the shop Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Phoenix.  (AP)

American gun policy front and center in the 2016 campaigns after the shootings in Oregon. We’ll look at who stands where on guns.

Oct 6, 2015
In this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, photo, Dorothy McIntosh Shuemake, mother of Alison Shuemake, browses a picture collage of her daughter at her home, in Middletown, Ohio. Alison Shuemake, 18, died Aug. 26, after a suspected heroin overdose. (AP)

American addiction. From prescription painkillers to heroin. The numbers are staggering. Why?

Oct 5, 2015
Singer-songwriter Sara Barielles on the cover of her new memoir, "Sounds Like Me." (Courtesy Simon & Schuster)

Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles goes fully confessional in her new memoir, “Sounds Like Me.” She joins us.

Oct 5, 2015
The newest version of the Apple mobile iOS system allows ad-blocking software on mobile browsing for the first time. (Abdullah Syahbal / Flickr)

Are ad–blocking, bots, and mobile gutting economic viability of the internet? We’ll take a close look.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: October 2, 2015
Friday, Oct 2, 2015

We say hello again to our email address (since so many of you did this week) and goodbye to the Log Lady.

More »
Interview With Sen. Bernie Sanders: ‘Count Me As A Radical’
Thursday, Oct 1, 2015

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is making waves in the 2016 Presidential race, and he joined us today from the US Capitol to explain how his campaign message is connecting with voters around the country.

More »
Our Week In The Web: September 25, 2015
Friday, Sep 25, 2015

But seriously — where ARE our podcasts running off to? Plus, more Jewel.

More »