It's official, U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach is running for a fifth term in his 6th Congressional District seat, one day after dropping out of the Republican primary election for governor. The question now: Will Gerlach face primary challengers for his seat. State Rep. Curt Schroder has already secured some GOP support in his bid to replace Gerlach, who announced last summer that he would leave the seat to run for governor. And Phoenixville businessman Steven Welch has invested his own cash in his run for the GOP nomination.
Gerlach, in a statement just released, said hundreds of constituents called and e-mailed him yesterday, urging him to run for re-election to Congress.
"The overwhelming response let me know that the best way to continue serving the public is by protecting taxpayers and fighting for our families," Gerlach said. "And it has reinforced the decision I have made - after exhaustive deliberation with my extremely supportive wife, Karen and our children -- to seek another term representing the great people of the 6th Congressional District."
Schroder's campaign declined to comment today about Gerlach. Welch's campaign did not respond to e-mails and phone calls on the topic.
UPDATE, 1:50 pm: Welch released a statement saying he admires Gerlach and looks forward "to a professional, spirited debate."
You can read Gerlach's news release on his decision to run for re-election after the jump.
Gerlach Will Continue Fighting for Families, Taxpayers and Seniors of the 6th District
Announces he will seek re-election to Congress this year
(Glenmoore, PA) - Republican Jim Gerlach, who has had the honor of serving as "Our Congressman" since 2002, renewed his commitment to the families, taxpayers and seniors of the 6th District, announcing that he will run for re-election this year. He issued the following statement explaining his decision:
"Less than 24 hours ago, I announced that I was ending my campaign to become Pennsylvania 's next governor and would continue working hard each day serving the public. Almost immediately, hundreds of concerned constituents and long-time supporters made phone calls and sent e-mails urging me to consider running for Congress again and offering to help in any way they could to keep me in this seat. I am extremely humbled by the response and grateful for the outpouring of kindness and encouragement. The overwhelming response let me know that the best way to continue serving the public is by protecting taxpayers and fighting for our families. And it has reinforced the decision I have made - after exhaustive deliberation with my extremely supportive wife, Karen and our children -- to seek another term representing the great people of the 6th Congressional District.
"Seeking re-election to the 6th Congressional District rather than running for governor will change my position on the ballot. However, my principles remain the same. I am committed to helping families keep more of their hard-earned paychecks, giving small businesses the freedom they need to create jobs and remain competitive and making sure the government lives within its means and works for the people.
"These are the same principles that guided me as a state lawmaker working with Gov. Tom Ridge to trim waste from the Pennsylvania budget and to pass historic Welfare reform legislation, which empowered millions of Pennsylvanians to cash paychecks rather than collect welfare checks. These are the same principles that guided me as a member of Congress to support tax cuts that have saved the average Pennsylvania family more than $2,000 per year and helped make prescription drugs more affordable for our seniors. And these are the same principles that guided me in 2009 when I stood up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and voted against the largest spending increase in our history, a misguided cap-and-trade bill that jeopardizes thousands of Pennsylvania manufacturing jobs and a health care scheme that would give the federal government unprecedented control over the daily lives of consumers, doctors and employers. I am energized, and will continue to be the best public servant I can be.
"I truly believe that I represent the best chance for Republicans to not only hold this seat, but play a major role in regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives. I have held this seat in the face of fiercely competitive elections in which opponents and liberal interest groups have spent millions against me in the worst political environments for Republicans in a generation. This year, taxpayers certainly have a lot on the line if Speaker Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are allowed to pursue their agenda of higher taxes and infinitely expanding government and wasteful spending. I am determined to make sure that does not happen and look forward to the campaign ahead and continued support of the voters."