State Rep. Jim Christiana (R) declined to run for Congress today, just a few day after Pennsylvania Republicans released a new Congressional map with a redrawn House district tailored for him.
“I will postpone any consideration of a run for Congress for another season,” Christiana said in an open letter that cited mostly family considerations as his reason for eschewing a bid.
Christiana’s announcement came as Pennsylvania Republicans are reportedly having trouble collecting enough votes to pass the map through the state House. A Pennsylvania political news website, Capitolwire, predicted that state House Republicans are 20 votes short of passing the map and are scrounging for Democratic support.
Christiana’s decision is surprising given he opened an exploratory committee for the seat last month. Pennsylvania Republicans expected him to run for the redrawn 12th district next year, even crafting the district to include his home in Beaver County.
His announcement leaves a big recruitment hole in the new Pennsylvania map for Republicans. GOP mapmakers redrew the 12th district to host a Democratic primary between Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz, with the winner set to run against Christiana in the new GOP-leaning district.
GOP speculation immediately turned to state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R), who hails from a nearby county and played an influential part in the recent mapmaking process. But a spokesman for Turzai, Steve Miskin, confirmed tonight that he has no plans to run for Congress.
Attorney Keith Rothfus (R) plans to run in the GOP primary in the 12th district. He narrowly lost to Altmire in the 4th district last year.