One of the last Republicans to represent parts of Philadelphia has announced he will not run for reelection.
Rep. Tom Murt, R-Montgomery, will not run for an eighth term this year, as first reported by the Northeast Times, a Philadelphia neighborhood newspaper.
Recently appointed as chairman of the House Human Services Committee, Murt is an Iraq War veteran and a former local elected official. He won a seat in Harrisburg in 2006.
As a state lawmaker, he’s been a moderate voice friendly to labor and advocating to increase state funding for people with disabilities, mental illness and other vulnerable populations.
In his statement to the Northeast Times, Murt quoted former Democratic Presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey’s famous line that the “the moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the disabled.”
In 2012, Murt also passed a law expanding child labor laws to young actors in reality TV shows. Murt said he hoped for “another 30 years to spend with my family and friends, and to serve our community in a different capacity” after finishing a doctorate degree in education at Temple University.
“In any endeavor, you can be sure I will continue my devotion to public service, human services, assisting adults with special needs, supporting Pennsylvanians with mental illness, and defending our disabled veterans,” Murt said in a statement to the paper.
Murt added that he was writing a book on his time in Harrisburg. He is the twelfth House lawmaker and eighth Republican to announce their retirement.
The now open 152nd House District seat includes Hatboro and Lower and Upper Moreland Townships in Montgomery County, as well as part of Bustleton in Philadelphia.
According to elections analyst Ben Forstate, both Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey took more than 62 percent of the vote in the district during their reelection bids in 2018.
In the same election, Murt sailed comfortably to reelection with just less than ten percentage points.
Murt in HD-152 (MontCo./Philly) is retiring. Some implications. 1. The remaining moderates in the collar counties were p. entrenched. Every retirement in the Philadelphia suburbs frees up money for the PADems to spend in other parts of the state. 1/ pic.twitter.com/gjMsRzlneC
— Ben Forstate (@4st8) January 18, 2020
Democrats are targeting House Republicans in Philadelphia’s shifting suburbs to win their first state legislative majority in a decade. At least one Democratic group already includes the 152nd on its target list for 2020.
The district has never elected a Democrat since it was first drawn in the 1960’s. One local official, Democratic Hatboro Mayor Nancy Guesnt, has already announced she is running to flip the seat.
Democrats need nine seats to retake the House, but also have representatives of their own in vulnerable red-trending seats in northeast and southwest Pennsylvania.