Pennsylvania: U.S. Attorney Eyeing Altmire Challenge?

Posted November 2, 2009 at 6:35pm

U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan (R), who is rumored to be looking at challenging Rep. Jason Altmire (D), announced last week that she is stepping down from her post — but she gave no hints on her future plans.

Buchanan will resign Nov. 16, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“After more than eight years in the best job anyone could ever have, I am looking forward to the next chapter of my professional career,— Buchanan said in a statement published in the newspaper.

Attorney Keith Rothfus is the only GOP candidate in the race so far, although Republican leaders have been attempting to woo state Rep. Mike Turzai to get into the race since the beginning of the cycle. Turzai has not officially ruled out a bid, but local Republicans say he is unlikely to run at this point.

National Republicans could not say whether Buchanan’s resignation indicated she was preparing to run, but National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Tory Mazzola said she would make a strong candidate if she does decide to get into the race.

“She would make a strong candidate in opposition Jason Altmire’s big-government agenda that creates more federal bureaucracy but not jobs,— Mazzola said.

Altmire won re-election over former Rep. Melissa Hart (R) in 2008, 56 percent to 44 percent, but his southwestern Pennsylvania district has traditionally voted for Republicans. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) carried the district on the presidential level with 55 percent.