NPR logo On This Day In 1974: Murtha Wins House Special In Pennsylvania

On This Day In 1974: Murtha Wins House Special In Pennsylvania

Feb. 5, 1974:

State Rep. John Murtha (D) wins a special congressional election in Pennsylvania's 12th District to fill the seat of the late GOP Rep. John Saylor.

Murtha defeats Republican Harry Fox by just 122 votes. Many observers wondered if this race would give hints about what would happen in November. President Nixon and the GOP are on the defensive over the Watergate scandal, and some read this as a sign that this could be a big Democratic year. But Murtha's close win, in a district that has a narrow Democratic advantage in registration, left both sides with a murky message.

Meanwhile, 36 years later, Murtha still holds the seat.

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