Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Jim Gerlach Jim Gerlach

NEXT :
This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

Almanac

Search

Enter your search query or use our Advanced People Search. Need Help? View our search tips

View Saved Lists
View Saved Lists
Republican

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R)

Jim Gerlach Contact
Back to top
Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-4315

Address: 2442 RHOB, DC 20515

Jim Gerlach Biography
Back to top
  • Elected: 2002, 6th term.
  • District: Pennsylvania 6
  • Born: Feb. 25, 1955, Ellwood City
  • Home: Chester Springs
  • Education:

    Dickinson Col., B.A. 1977, J.D. 1980

  • Professional Career:

    Practicing atty., 1980-2002.

  • Political Career:

    PA House of Reps., 1990-94; PA Senate, 1994-2002.

  • Religion:

    Presbyterian

  • Family: Married (Karen); 6 children

Jim Gerlach, a moderate Republican elected in 2002, has come a long way since his immersion in two of the House’s fiercest reelection battles in 2004 and 2006. With a prized slot on the Ways and Means Committee and a district that was made more Republican in 2011 redistricting, he is now in a comfortable spot politically. Read More

Jim Gerlach, a moderate Republican elected in 2002, has come a long way since his immersion in two of the House’s fiercest reelection battles in 2004 and 2006. With a prized slot on the Ways and Means Committee and a district that was made more Republican in 2011 redistricting, he is now in a comfortable spot politically.

Gerlach grew up in Ellwood City, Pa., midway between Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio. He graduated from Dickinson College and its law school, just west of Harrisburg. He continued moving east, settled in Chester County, and practiced law. He was elected to the state House in 1990 and to the state Senate in 1994.

When Republicans in 2002 created a new district in suburban Philadelphia, Gerlach was the obvious intended beneficiary. He had spirited competition from Democrat Dan Wofford, a former adviser to Democratic Gov. Robert Casey. Wofford had not previously run for office, but his name was well known; his father, Harris Wofford, was elected to the Senate in a 1991 special election. Gerlach ran on his legislative accomplishments, including votes to expand Pennsylvania’s prescription drug program for low-income seniors. Wofford attacked Gerlach as a career politician. Polls showed the race close, and national Republicans spent more than $1.5 million on ads for Gerlach. The outcome was not clear until the early-morning hours, when Gerlach won 51%-49%.

In the House, Gerlach’s voting record is mostly moderate. The Philadelphia Inquirer accused him in 2010 of being “reluctant to make waves,” even though it endorsed him for reelection. With his party in the majority in the 112th Congress (2011-12), he stuck with Republicans on big votes but refused to join conservatives in voting to eliminate or slash spending for federal programs such as the Legal Services Corp. and National Endowment for the Arts. As a result, he had the fourth-lowest ranking of any House Republican on the anti-tax Club for Growth’s 2012 legislative scorecard.

Earlier, Gerlach was a strong supporter of the Bush-era tax cuts and of eliminating the marriage penalty in the tax code, but he opposed the Bush administration’s proposal to create personal retirement accounts in Social Security. He was one of the deciding “yes” votes on the 2005 Central America Free Trade Agreement, which came days after Bush adviser Karl Rove and first lady Laura Bush each held fundraisers for him. He denied any connection.

On Ways and Means, Gerlach has worked on several measures that generated bipartisan support, such as a proposal to make permanent a tax depreciation for restaurant improvements and a bill he had pushed earlier to require dog breeders in high-volume “puppy mills” to be federally licensed and regularly inspected. He joined in Republican criticism in 2012 of a tax on medical devices that was part of the Democrats’ health care law.He has taken an interest in land preservation, and sponsored bills sending federal matching dollars to local, state, and country governments seeking to preserve open spaces and farmland.

With House Republicans seemingly ensconced in the minority in July 2009, Gerlach announced his candidacy for governor, fashioning himself as a fiscal conservative and social moderate in the mold of popular former Gov. Tom Ridge. But Gerlach faced a steep battle in winning over western Pennsylvania voters, and his poll numbers fell after Ridge threw his support behind Attorney General Tom Corbett. Gerlach withdrew in January 2010, leaving the Republican nomination open to Corbett, who eventually won the post.

After brushing aside a tea party challenger in the Republican primary for his House seat, Gerlach won reelection with ease for the first time in the fall of 2010, over Democratic physician Manan Trivedi, 57%-43%. Trivedi returned for a rematch in 2012 and ran a strong campaign, accusing his rival of “failing to lead.” But Pennsylvania Republican redistricters had Gerlach’s back. The new 6th District excised Democratic precincts and he took 57% again to lock in his hold on the seat.

Gerlach previously had been a prime Democratic target. In 2004, he faced Democratic attorney Lois Murphy, who managed Ed Rendell’s 2002 gubernatorial campaign in Montgomery County. The well-financed Murphy made it an unexpectedly close contest, but Gerlach won, 51%-49%. Two years later, Murphy ran again with strong encouragement from EMILY’s List and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. She was better-known and the issues were similar, but the campaign rhetoric was harsher. Gerlach may have benefited from more aggressive attacks by his campaign on alleged inconsistencies in Murphy’s agenda. For the third consecutive election, Gerlach won by 51%-49%. In 2008, Gerlach had a more than 3-to-1 fundraising advantage over Democrat Robert Roggio, a retired corporate executive. But he still managed only a 52%-48% win.

Show Less
Jim Gerlach Election Results
Back to top
2012 General
Jim Gerlach (R)
Votes: 191,725
Percent: 57.14%
Manan Trivedi
Votes: 143,803
Percent: 42.86%
2012 Primary
Jim Gerlach (R)
Votes: 45,206
Percent: 100.0%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (57%), 2008 (52%), 2006 (51%), 2004 (51%), 2002 (51%)
Jim Gerlach Votes and Bills
Back to top NJ Vote Ratings

National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 49 (L) : 51 (C) 51 (L) : 48 (C) 41 (L) : 57 (C)
Social 48 (L) : 50 (C) 53 (L) : 47 (C) 46 (L) : 54 (C)
Foreign 15 (L) : 77 (C) 35 (L) : 59 (C) 43 (L) : 54 (C)
Composite 39.0 (L) : 61.0 (C) 47.5 (L) : 52.5 (C) 44.2 (L) : 55.8 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC90100
LCV3426
CFG4854
ITIC-100
NTU6661
20112012
COC100-
ACLU-0
ACU5268
ADA150
AFSCME0-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
Read More
 
Browse The Almanac
Congressional Leadership
and Committees

House Committees
Senate Committees
Joint Committees
Leadership Roster
About Almanac
almanac cover
The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
Members: Buy the book at 25% off retail.
Order Now
Need Help?

Contact Us:

202.266.7900 | membership@nationaljournal.com