Pike concedes, setting stage for Trivedi vs. Gerlach in 6th Dist.

May 20, 2010

If you don’t know who Manan Trivedi is yet, you will by November.

Trivedi, an Iraq War veteran, declared victory yesterday afternoon in the 6th Congressional District’s Democratic primary following the concession of former Inquirer editorial writer Doug Pike – 20 hours after the polls closed Tuesday night.
Having defeated Pike by a scant 672 votes, or 1.6 percentage points, Trivedi now takes on four-term Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Gerlach in the district, which covers parts of Chester, Montgomery and Berks counties. It’s arguably the nation’s most competitive district.

Pike, 61, who contributed more than $1 million of his own money to his campaign and appeared to have a clear path to the nomination last year, conceded yesterday after determining that there weren’t enough uncounted votes to change the outcome. He urged his supporters to unite behind Trivedi, 35, a doctor from Birdsboro.

“We’re going to take it to him,” Trivedi said of Gerlach. “We’re ready to do this.”

For Gerlach, 55, this year’s general election is looking a lot like 2002 – and 2004, 2006 and 2008. With an average victory margin of only 2.6 percentage points over the last four elections, Gerlach is used to sleeping with one eye open, always on guard for the next well-funded Democrat who’s gunning for his job.

“It’s not exhausting. It’s actually a great challenge, and I appreciate the challenge,” Gerlach said in a conference call yesterday.
But Trivedi, the son of immigrants from India who worked at the Red Cheek apple-juice factory, could be a stronger candidate than past Democrats because he’s from Berks County, whose voters have helped give Gerlach the edge in past elections.
Gerlach, who lives in Chester County, dismissed that theory, saying that Trivedi is outside of the mainstream of the district.
“It’s not geography, it’s ideology,” Gerlach said, describing Trivedi as a “far-left liberal candidate” who would be a “rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi,” the U.S. House speaker.

Trivedi chuckled at Gerlach’s “classic talking points,” saying voters don’t want to hear “random stuff about Pelosi and big government.”

“He didn’t expect me. He’s never seen the likes of me,” Trivedi said. “I’m from this district. I was born and raised in this district. He’s from western Pennsylvania, and he made that very clear when he was running for governor last year.”