Reading physician, an Iraq vet, to challenge Gerlach

Posted: July 19, 2011

Democrat Manan Trivedi, a Reading physician and an Iraq war veteran, said Monday that he would seek a rematch next year with Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach for Pennsylvania's Sixth District seat.

In the 2010 midterm elections, Gerlach beat Trivedi by more than 33,000 votes. Democrats hope that dissatisfaction with congressional Republicans in Washington and the higher turnout levels of a presidential election year will lead to a different result in 2012.

"I think there's a lot of buyer's remorse out there," Trivedi, 37, said in an interview. "We need to start talking about things that matter - not Planned Parenthood funding, but where's their jobs plan?"

Gerlach, 55, has been targeted by national Democrats ever since he won the seat for the first time in 2002, but has managed to beat everyone the party has sent against him.

He could not be reached for comment Monday.

Trivedi said he would make an issue of the GOP budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, which would privatize the Medicare program of health care for the elderly. "It would be catastrophic," he said.

The crab-shaped district stretches from Lower Merion to Reading and takes in parts of Montgomery, Chester, Berks, and Lehigh Counties. Trivedi narrowly carried Montgomery County, but Gerlach dominated in his home base of Chester County as well as in Berks County.

The Sixth District was created in redistricting in 2001 by legislative Republicans in Harrisburg to favor Gerlach, who began his political career in 1990 when he won a state House seat. In July 2009, he announced that he would not seek a fifth term and planned to run for governor, but changed his mind, citing a lack of campaign cash.

Contact politics writer Thomas Fitzgerald at 215-854-2718 or Read his blog "The Big Tent" at

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