Late last week, I got together with Tim Burns, the Republican candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 12th district. You’ll probably be hearing Tim Burns’ name quite a bit over the next month or so because he’s taking on Mark Critz, John Murtha’s former Chief of Staff, in a battle for “Murtha’s seat” on May 18th. Obviously, this is going to be a big race and can you imagine the horror on the Left if, after taking “Ted Kennedy’s seat,” the GOP followed it up by taking “John Murtha’s seat” next?
What follows is a slightly edited transcript of my interview with Tim Burns.
To begin with, explain the situation with the primary and the election that’s going on May 18th.
I was selected to be the Republican nominee for the special election. So, as far as the special election goes, it will be me and a Democratic opponent on May 18th. In addition, I’ll be running in the Republican primary the same day to get back on the ballot in November.
A lot of people across the country have supported Republican challengers in Pennsylvania’s 12th district before and have come up short. Granted, Murtha is not there anymore, but people are going to be wondering if you can win this thing. If people are wondering that nationwide, tell them why you think you’re in this thing and why you think you can pull it out?
If you look at the attitude that folks have across the country, they’re tired of business as usual in Washington. They believe that we’re headed in the wrong direction. They’re against the Obama/Pelosi agenda. If you take that attitude and you magnify it, that’s what you have here in the 12th District — and that was actually before this last healthcare vote. People in the district are just fired up about the healthcare bill being passed and they’re not at all happy with the Obama/Pelosi agenda.
We do have more Democrats than Republicans in this district, but they are conservative Democrats. They’re pro-life, they’re pro-gun, and they vote conservative. In fact, McCain beat Obama in this district and that was in a year where Obama did very well and Democrats did very well all across the country.
Now, you mentioned healthcare reform; what do you think of the healthcare reform that just passed? Also, if elected would you pledge to support a repeal?
Yes, I was against the healthcare bill before it was voted on. I signed a pledge that said if it was passed and I was elected, that I would vote to repeal it. I think it’s terrible for the American people.
When Nancy Pelosi got up after the bill was passed, she stood up there and said with pride, now we can join those who’ve established Social Security and Medicare. I thought to myself when she said that, “Well, that’s great; both of those programs are facing bankruptcy.” So now we’re happy that the world’s best healthcare system is now on the same path as Social Security and Medicare.
Tim, you’ve done some work on the tea parties. Can you talk about that a little bit?
Sure. Before I was a candidate, I organized the first tea party here in Washington County — my home county. I got a great response there. From there, I spoke at another one of the tea parties, got involved in that movement, and was actually encouraged to run for Congress. That’s really how I got involved in this race.
If someone from your district walked up to you and said, “Tim, why should I vote for you instead of Mark Critz?” what would you tell him? Now, people nationwide are going to pay attention to this election. If someone is from outside of Pennsylvania, obviously, they can contribute money. What else can they do to help your campaign?
I think voters have a clear choice right now. They have a choice between a bureaucrat and a businessman. They can choose between someone that has been part of the big government tax and spend policies of a broken system or somebody from outside of the system. I’ve never been in politics.
You have somebody who thinks that cap and trade is the way to go — somebody who worked on a campaign where they thought the healthcare bill was the right way to go. Or, you have somebody who’s against cap and trade and who’s for free market enterprise, lower taxes and limited government. I think the choice is very clear.
We’re planning on using phone technology that will allow people to get involved in the campaign, no matter where they are. But even before that, if you want to help, you can blog about the campaign. You can also comment on articles that you see written about the campaign, point people to the website, and tell people that this is a race that people should watch.
OK, last question. Are you getting any support from the RNC and NRCC?
This will be an important race for both parties. Both parties will want to win this seat and go into the fall elections with momentum. So, we expect to get support from both the RNC and the NRCC.
When you get to Congress, make sure to remember all these bloggers that helped you get elected.
I absolutely will. It’s been critical. Bloggers, the conservative movement, the tea party guys — everybody’s been such a big help. Believe me, I won’t forget.
Outstanding. Tim, I really appreciate your time.
OK, I really appreciate it and keep up the good work.