In less then two weeks Pennsylvania will hold a special election to fill the House seat of the late John Murtha. This is a seat Murtha held for decades and which Democrats out-register Republicans by an almost 2-1 margin. Despite this, it seems that the Dems are running scarred as Republican Tim Burns actually holds a slight lead in the polls now.

In what was the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha’s western Pennsylvania district — reachable through John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport or John P. Murtha Highway — Democrats watch nervously, hoping his former top aide can hold on to the House seat.

Mark Critz, who worked for Murtha for more than a decade in Pennsylvania, including the past three as district director, is in a fierce fight with Republican businessman Tim Burns in the May 18 special election. The national GOP has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to push Burns’ candidacy, sensing a legitimate shot of capturing the seat held for 36 years by Murtha, an ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

A loss would unnerve Democrats, who face the backlash against the party in power typical for a midterm election year, and depress the outlook for the party’s other candidates in Pennsylvania, which Barack Obama won easily in 2008.

The key to special elections is always the GOTV efforts and voter enthusiasm. One thing that is clear is that the GOP is fired up right now over O-care and the liberal agenda of this Congress. On the flip side Democrats are generally apathetic. In some ways this election reminds me of 2006 when many GOP were apathetic and the Democrats were fired up.

The reason why Democrats are scared is not necessarily because they might loose a seat in the House but because if this seat is in jeopardy then no seat is safe. This seat is normally a lock for the Dems much like the Kennedy (or any seat in Mass) was. As we have seen, nothing this year is certain.

Exit Question: How long until we start seeing polls with Nancy Pelosi in a dead heat with the Republican?