Gerlach Mum On Whether He Tried To Clear The GOP Field

U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach just told reporters on a conference call that he welcomes all comers in the GOP primary election for his 6th Congressional District seat. State Rep. Curt Schroder and businessman Steven Welch are declared candidates and a handful of other people have been considering the race.

"If they would like to say in the primary and offer their ideas and experience to the voters that would be great," Gerlach said. "I’d welcome that."

Gerlach, who had planned to step down from the seat during his run for governor, said he has spoken to Schroder about his decision to drop out of that race and run for re-election. He plans to speak next week with Welch, who is away on a family trip.  PhillyClout asked Gerlach if he was seeking to clear the field of primary challengers.  This is how he answered: "As to specific words that are exchanged, that’s sort of private in nature."

Gerlach told reporters he and his wife decided when he entered the GOP primary for governor that they would assess his chances at the end of the year.  That led to the decision recently to drop out and run for re-election.  Gerlach stressed that party leaders -- U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions [R-Texas], chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee and House Minority Leader John Boehner [R-Ohio] -- were strongly backing his run.

"Pete is one of those very persistent individuals who never let me stop thinking about the possibility of coming back and running for my House seat," Gerlach said.