Tea party challenger to take on Shuster as a Democrat

From Politico:

Art Halvorson, the Tea Party challenger who narrowly lost to Rep. Bill Shuster in the April primary, is taking on the Pennsylvania Republican again in November, this time as a Democrat.

Halvorson, who won the Democratic slot as a write-in candidate, officially decided to accept the nomination, he’ll announce Tuesday, according to a statement obtained by POLITICO.

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A former Coast Guard captain, Halvorson has been a thorn in Shuster’s side for several years, challenging him in the GOP primary twice and almost beating the Republican incumbent this time around despite being outspent by huge margins.

Shuster beat Halvorson by about one percentage point in the April primary despite funneling millions of dollars into the race.

Shuster, who leads the House Transportation Committee, has been dogged by ethical questions after POLITICO reported last year he’s dating a major airline lobbyist while trying to push through a massive overhaul of the FAA’s air traffic control system.

“Like most career politicians, Shuster represents the lobbyists that bankroll his re-election,” Halvorson said in a statement to be released Tuesday.

Halvorson–the first Tea-Party backed candidate in the country to win a Democratic write-in nomination, according to his campaign—faces an uphill battle in a district that is both solidly Republican and solidly Shuster.

A Shuster, now Bill since 2001 and for decades before that his father Bud, has represented Pennsylvania’s 9th District since 1973.

Halvorson has vowed to caucus as a conservative Republican if elected to Congress but it’s unclear if his message will resonate enough to convince enough disenchanted Republican voters to join Democrats in ousting the incumbent.

Shuster’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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