Following primaries in Pennsylvania Tuesday, all eyes are on the Keystone State as Democrats could pick up as many as six new House seats there this November.
That would mean that more than one-fifth of the 25 seats Democrats need to take control of the U.S. House would come from Pennsylvania alone.
Should Nancy Pelosi become speaker of the House next year, she and her fellow Democrats are likely to give particular thanks to the Democratic-controlled Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Last year, the court struck down the congressional map drawn in 2011 by the Republican-controlled state legislature and redrew the lines for districts that now offer Democrats the opportunity for major gains in the House.
Pennsylvania’s competitive House races were even more interesting by the number of decidedly left-of-center Democrats who emerged triumphantly from contested primaries for the now-winnable House seats. In at least four of the six races that are favorable for the Democrats, the nominees emerged from the far left of the party and had national backing from leftist organizations.
In the 1st District (Bucks County), for example, philanthropist Scott Wallace easily beat two opponents with 58 percent of the vote and is considered a formidable foe to Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.
With his Wallace Global Initiative having long bankrolled causes from climate change to “fighting corporate-controlled states,” Wallace proudly cites his grandfather Henry A. Wallace as his political role model.
In three other districts, women backed by national pro-choice and pro-gun control groups were big winners in Democratic primaries for open seats. State Sen. Madeleine Dean, founder of the pro-gun control Pennsylvania Safe organization, was the big winner for nomination in the newly-carved 4th District (Montgomery County).
In the 6th District (Chester County) seat vacated by retiring Republican Rep. Ryan Costello, retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Chrissy Houlahan is the strong favorite to pick up the seat over little-known GOP nominee Greg McCauley. Houlahan, a local organizer in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, ran as a supporter of national health insurance and a tough environmental agenda.
In the 7th District (Lehigh Valley) where veteran GOP Rep. Charlie Dent resigned, Allentown Solicitor Susan Wild won the Democratic primary after the pro-choice Emily’s List did a mailing of 250,000 pieces on her behalf. Wild is considered the front-runner over Lehigh County Commissioner Marty Nothstein, a product of Dent’s political organization.
Possibly the most intriguing contest is in the 5th District (Delaware County), where Republican Rep. Pat Meehan was forced to quit amid charges of improper behavior toward a female intern. Running on a platform of supporting tough gun control and citing her background as an attorney for refugees, Mary Gay Scanlon topped 10 fellow Democrats to win the nomination.
Although Scanlon is the favorite, area Republicans did come up with a formidable candidate in Pearl Kim, onetime senior deputy state attorney general. Kim, daughter of Korean immigrants, won a major human trafficking prosecution.
In two other districts, more moderate hopefuls will carry the Democratic standard. Democrat Denny Wolff, dairy farmer and former state agriculture secretary, is thought to have an excellent chance of picking up the 9th District (Wilkes-Barre) seat of Republican Senate nominee Lou Barletta. He faces former state revenue secretary and moderate Republican Dan Meuser.
And what is sure to be a nationally watched bout, Democrat Conor Lamb — winner of a special election for Congress earlier this year — will square off against conservative GOP Rep. Keith Rothfus. In winning the special election, Lamb made big news by opposing gun control and vowing never to vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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