n giving an early endorsement to Monica Treichel in the 149th Legislative District, Montgomery County Republicans signaled that the GOP is not giving up on its second try to oust Democratic state Rep. Daylin Leach from office. But less than two months after that endorsement, one other candidate has thrown his hat into the ring.
Republicans in the district - which includes portions of Lower Merion and Upper Merion - endorsed Treichel, a professor at Temple University's Fox School of Business, back in December. Though she needs to submit petitions to get on the ballot - a process that began on Tuesday - Treichel, 41, said this week she's ready to take on the incumbent.
The same could be said for Ardmore karate instructor Joe Breidenstein, 48, who declared his candidacy on Tuesday.
"I think that we can do better than what we currently have in Harrisburg," asserted Treichel. "I can bring more responsible representation. I will work for better government, smaller government, more effective government."
Breidenstein's platform centers on the issues of lower property taxes and environmental health.
For his part, Leach, 44 - who after a bruiser of a campaign squeaked by to win the seat in 2002, and handily won re-election two years later - is confident that things will go his way yet again.
"I did very well last time," said the Jewish politician. And "the district has trended very well in my direction since last time."
The General Assembly's last session, though, wasn't exactly a banner year for Leach. Pennsylvania legislators on the whole fared poorly after passing a last-minute pay raise; in addition, Leach was the recipient of several negative articles in The Philadelphia Inquirer after he posted some off-color jokes last fall to his personal Web site.
Still, several pieces of legislation backed by Leach made it into law: a provision mandating the state to convert 25 percent of its fleet to hybrid cars, and the creation of a fund to give free mammograms to women between the ages of 40 and 49 who don't have health insurance.
Treichel, who's not Jewish but is a member of the Republican Jewish Coalition, said she was offended by Leach's Internet postings. "Other people were as well," she insisted. "When you run for public office, you need to be more responsible to your constituents."
Leach said the issue of his taste in comedy was blown out of proportion, and that his constituents understand that. On the question of the pay raise - which he voted for - he explained that he was forced to accede to the measure if he wanted his own environmental legislation to pass.
"I think we've done a good job," he said. "I don't think there's a legislator who's been more accessible."