The 18-term congressman's challenger, staunch conservative Republican newcomer William Russell, raised nearly $670,000 in the second quarter. Earmark king Murtha scraped together a measly $119,000.
Russell's underdog campaign bested Murtha without the perks of incumbency, national name recognition, big PAC donations or mainstream media support.
Even more amazing: The challenger, a Desert Storm veteran and Army reservist who survived the 9/11 Pentagon attack, wasn't even publicly campaigning during the quarter. Russell, 45, is on active duty with the Army until after Aug. 1 and is barred from actively campaigning until then.
If all that didn't make this enough of an inspiring story: In February, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that Russell had failed to collect enough signatures to make the primary ballot. But he refused to give up on his goal of defeating Murtha. The GOP neophyte persevered on a shoestring budget and won more than 4,000 write-in votes in the spring to earn a spot on the general-election ballot. Russell's campaign manager, veteran GOP activist Peg Luksik, says most second-quarter donations were less than $50.
Russell's clear on where he stands. "I am a conservative," he says in his defining campaign statement. "I believe in the sovereignty and security of this one nation, under God. I believe the primary role of government is to provide for the common defense and a legal framework to protect families and individual liberty."