John Murtha has been in congress for 34 years. But this election, he’s locked in a very tight race with a political newcomer and war veteran, Lt. Colonel Bill Russell. Read more about their congressional race and see videos.

Since Democratic Congressman John Murtha repeatedly made disrespectful comments about his western Pennsylvania District, his Republican challenger William Russell, has been gaining serious ground in their congressional race.

“Voters are beginning to realize that the longtime congressman does not share their values,” says Russell.

“What Mr. Murtha did was attribute the lowest possible motivations to our voters,�? he says. “The people in this area tend to vote their values. To say that they are simply racist because they won’t vote for Obama overlooks the fact that Senator Obama has an almost radical pro-abortion platform, as well as a very anti-gun platform. This shows that Murtha has clearly lost touch with the voters.�?

Murtha made headlines recently for using words like “racist” and “redneck” to describe western Pennsylvania. Now he says his opponent is using those very comments to distract from the real issues.

Murtha spoke to a union crowd in Uniontown, Fayette County on Wednesday.

“Let me tell you how proud I am to represent this hardworking, patriotic district,” Murtha said.

Why do I find that comment disingenuous? There was no mention of his “redneck” or “racist” comments to this crowd whatsoever. Nor did he offer an apology to the exonerated Marines he called “cold-blooded killers.”

Polls show the race is within four points, the closest election Murtha has had since his first run for office in 1974 when he won by just 120 votes.

His challenger is a newcomer to elected office. Republican Bill Russell spent 28 years in the army and he and his wife were working in the Pentagon on Sept. 11. They lived in 11 states before settling down in Johnstown because they said it felt like home.

But Murtha said Russell came here for one reason only, to run against him. He said Russell doesn’t know the community at all.

“They put a bullseye on my back and they are trying to get rid of me. I put up with that. But now, we’re in the issues, people are starting to see,” Murtha said.

Pitiful. Actually Congressman, what people see is that you are a pork barrell blowhard who really has very little respect for the people and the place you represent. You have been in Washington way too long. And as far as that bullseye? You put it there yourself.

Many believe that the good people of Western Pennsylvania deserve better than John Murtha. They are joining the Russell Brigade campaign to send Lt. Colonel Bill Russell to Washington.

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