Christiana, first elected to the state House in 2008, was seen as having a strong chance at claiming the Republican nomination as a young, reform-minded lawmaker popular with the conservative base. In his absence, ex-congressional candidate Keith Rothfus, who narrowly lost to Altmire last year in the state's old 4th Congressional District, likely becomes the favorite to win the nomination. Speculation will also increase that state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, a longtime top National Republican Congressional Committee target, is poised to declare his candidacy after years of flirting with a possible run. The lawmaker, just 28 years old, indicated he's still interested in a campaign later on -- saying he's only "postponing" a campaign for now while he seeks re-election to the state House.
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