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Burns Aims For First GOP House Pickup

Democrats are 6-for-6 in special elections for the House of Representatives since President Obama took office. But that doesn't faze Tim Burns (R) as he runs in a May 18th contest to replace the late John Murtha representing Pennsylvania's 12th district.

Asked about the Democratic successes in those earlier races, Burns matter-of-factly responds, "I wasn't running in any of those."

In an interview with RCP this afternoon, Burns claimed that the momentum is on his side in the race, as voters in his district are hungry for a change from "Washington as usual," which his opponent represents.

"People understand that this is a guy who's going to vote in lock-step with Pelosi and Obama," he said of Democrat Mark Critz, a former Murtha aide. "They are not happy with either one of them in this district."

Voters can "see through" his attempts to distance himself from the national Democratic agenda, Burns argues, as evidenced by a fundraiser held in his honor in Washington this week by Pelosi, and a visit Friday from Vice President Joe Biden.

Tonight, meanwhile, Burns welcomes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for a fundraiser, and says he has no qualms about standing with the GOP.

"There are a majority of Democrats here, but conservative, common-sense Democrats," he said. "They're pro-life, they're pro-gun and they're pro-common sense. They're tired of the out-of-control spending. They know that we can't spend our way into prosperity. ... So this is a district where Democrats are not afraid to vote for the person over the party."

On his Twitter feed, Burns recently invoked Obama's infamous quote about people "clinging" to guns and religion, saying he proudly does so.

"I think people outside of the district thought that that was going to be a big mistake, and it was going to hurt me. But people loved that here," he said. "It does resonate. People do cling to their bibles and their guns here. And I wouldn't apologize for it and people are not embarrassed by it."