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CQ's Josh Kurtz writes on the national importance of the special election for Jack Murtha's seat:

But the Pennsylvania race is important. A Republican victory there would radiate out to the rest of the state and region — and could truly set the tone for November.

The NRCC has made Pennsylvania its top target for 2010; GOP strategists see Democratic Reps. Jason Altmire and Kathy Dahlkemper , who represent districts that abut Murtha’s, as vulnerable, along with Reps. Christopher Carney , Tim Holden and Paul E. Kanjorski . In this political environment, Republicans think they also have a chance of ousting Rep. Patrick J. Murphy and of winning the open seat that Rep. Joe Sestak is giving up to run for Senate.

Except for Holden, all of these Democrats sit in districts that were represented by Republicans only a few years ago, fueling the GOP’s hopes.

. . . If Republican Tim Burns wins Murtha’s seat next month, it could not only give the GOP a blueprint for beating Altmire, Dahlkemper, Carney, Holden and Kanjorski, it could also prove instructive in as many as a dozen working-class districts in New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin.

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