Republicans throughout Pennsylvania were taken completely off guard Tuesday by the announcement from Rep. Todd Platts that he would not seek re-election this year. His surprise decision came one week before the filing deadline in the Keystone State was scheduled to commence — meaning that a number of state legislators who had planned to seek re-election were working the phones and doing some intense soul-searching Tuesday evening.
A dozen years after he succeeded Rep. William Goodling (who, in turn, had succeeded his congressman-father George in 1974), Platts (lifetime American Conservative Union rating: 75.27 percent) was considered less conservative than most of his GOP colleagues in the House. In what has become a pattern in open Republican seats, his exodus paves the way for a successor who is more conservative — “an upgrade,” as conservative activists often describe seats vacated by office-holders who they perceive as “not one of us.”
The most conservative possibility mentioned in the all-important GOP primary in the York County-based district is County Commissioner Chris Reilly. Other prospective contenders include State Reps. Scott Perry, Will Tallman, and Ron Miller — all of whom who are regarded in varying degrees to the right of Platts. State Sen. Mike Waugh had already announced his retirement from the state legislature and is considered unlikely to change his mind and run for Congress.
Like the other eleven House Republicans who have so far said they are not running again, Platts comes from a district that is considered safe Republican and where the GOP primary is tantamount to election to Congress.