Thu. May 23rd, 2024

What to watch for in Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primaries

By 37ci3 Apr23,2024

Pennsylvania’s primary voters will vote Tuesday in a number of critical races in a key battleground state, though both the presidential and Senate primaries are mere formalities.

They are included A hotly contested Democratic primary around Pittsburgh and a primary in eastern Pennsylvania featuring a moderate Republican looking to fend off a right-wing challenger.

Moreover, activists unhappy with President Joe Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war are urging Democrats to write “no threats” on the state’s primary ballot. Republicans looking to vote against former President Donald Trump can still find former UN ambassador Nikki Haley on the ballot, who ended her campaign last month.

Pennsylvania is one of the most evenly divided states in the country, so both sides will be looking for any clues the former can offer about the November election.

Here’s what to watch for Tuesday, when polls close at 8 p.m. local time.

A home district in Gaza where the war is front and center

In the 12th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Summer Lee Edgewood Borough Councilwoman Bhavini Patel faces a challenge in a race that has put the Israel-Hamas war front and center.

Lee, a member of the progressive “caucus” in Congress and one of the first lawmakers to call for a ceasefire, accused the Israeli government of committing “war crimes” and called for an unconditional end to military aid to the country. and on Saturday, he joined 36 Democrats and 21 Republicans in voting against the bailout. He and Republican Rep. Scott Perry were the only members of Pennsylvania who voted against it.

Patel, who launched his campaign days before the October 7 attack by Hamas, tried to cut Lee’s support, saying his refusal to distance himself from groups and activists would hurt Biden this fall.

Lee, who won his first primary race in 2022 after fending off heavy spending by groups aligned with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, looks stronger this time around. He is well established in the district and has built his bid around fighting Trump-aligned Republicans and bringing federal dollars to the area. The same AIPAC-friendly groups that fought him last time aren’t spending money on the race this time.

The area includes Squirrel Hill, one of the most prominent historically Jewish neighborhoods in the country. Tree of Life SynagogueWhere a white racist killed 11 worshipers in 2018. It was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in US history.

Lee has called on Hamas to release the hostages it still holds and has repeatedly spoken out against anti-Semitism.

“We have communities that are hurting. The Jewish community is one of them. And there are people who are not going to agree 100% with everything you say,” Lee said in an interview, saying his position on the ceasefire was “very clear and very open.” “I condemned Hamas. We have worked with families of hostages; We did everything I thought was necessary for this. And at the end of the day, we disagree.”

The race will be the first test of whether sentiment about the war in Gaza will play a significant role in this year’s races.

Building a critical Senate race

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and Republican challenger Dave McCormick are poised for victory on Tuesday, setting up a primary contest for control of the Senate.

McCormick, who lost the 2022 GOP primary to Trump-backed celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, managed to clear the field ahead of that bid and rally behind a Pennsylvania Republican establishment weary of infighting that has contributed to defeats down and up the ballot. in the midterm exam. It’s a dynamic that allowed him to focus on the general election battle against Casey from the start.

The two will soon face off in what will be one of the Senate’s most expensive races. Casey, a three-term senator whose father was the governor of Pennsylvania, has consistently trailed Biden in a state where Democrats have won victory after victory since Trump’s stunning upset of Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The race could determine which party holds the majority in the Senate, which Democrats hold 51-49.

A moderate Republican on defense

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick has built a brand as a moderate Republican, so he has often attracted primary opponents from the right. This year, Fitzpatrick is taking no chances in his primary race against anti-abortion activist Matt Houck.

According to the latest campaign finance reports, Fitzpatrick’s campaign has spent nearly $2 million so far, far outpacing Houck, who lost $145,000 and had just $11,000 in his account as of April 3.

Houck grabbed headlines for his arrest after an altercation with a Planned Parenthood volunteer, and he he was acquitted last year. Fitzpatrick’s campaign ran numerous negative TV ads against Houck, as well as spots that bolstered his conservative credentials. In one ad, Fitzpatrick says, “The far left is attacking the ideals that brought so many to our shores, instilling anti-American hatred in our children and keeping our borders open.”

The primary race drew attention from outside groups, with two super PACs spending in the race to boost Fitzpatrick: Defending America PAC and the Congressional Leadership Fund, which aligns with the House GOP leadership. There is also a group affiliated with the Democrats involved in the initial caseThis was reported by Politico.

Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent, has been a tough target for Democrats seeking to sweep the competitive 1st District around Philadelphia. If he wins the primary, Fitzpatrick will again face Democrat Ashley Ehasz, an Army veteran whom he defeated by 10 points in 2022 after Biden won the district by 5 points two years ago. Daily Kos Elections. The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter assesses the 1st District race probably a republican.

Battleground Setting up home matches

Tuesday’s primaries will also fuel matchups in four other competitive House districts. Two of them are already up, with businessman Rob Bresnahan the only Republican running against Democratic-Republican Matt Cartwright in the 8th District, and state Rep. Rob Mercury in the 17th District against Democratic-Republican Chris Deluzio.

But the battleground states have competitive primaries with two other Pennsylvania lawmakers: Democratic Rep. Susan Wild and GOP Rep. Scott Perry.

Top Republicans in Wild’s 7th District, north of Philadelphia, include state Rep. Ryan Mackenzie and tech company owner Kevin Delliker. Mackenzie is getting support from the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity Action, while Dellicker is slightly ahead of Mackenzie in the primary.

Wild won his third term in 2022 by just 2 points, while Biden won his district by less than 1 point in 2020. The Cook Political Report rates the race at one point. to throw.

In the 10th District, which includes Harrisburg, six Democrats are running against Perry, a former chairman of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus. Top contenders include TOPGUN pilot Mike O’Brien, a Marine veteran, and former local TV news anchor Janelle Stelson, who has received support from EMILY’s List, a group that supports pro-abortion-rights women candidates.

Although Democrats believe Perry is vulnerable, especially considering he is himself Confrontation with the investigation of the Ministry of Justice Democrats will face an uphill battle in a district where Trump won by 4 points in 2020 in their effort to overturn the 2020 election results. Here’s how the Cook Political Report assesses the race. skinny republican.

Biden protest vote

Biden is his party’s presumptive presidential nominee, but activists opposed to the war in Gaza are once again urging Democrats to vote against the administration’s support for Israel.

A coalition of groups called Unfiled PA is urging voters to write in “no threat” in the Democratic presidential primary. after similar efforts in other primary states. The group is seeking 40,000 voter turnouts in Pennsylvania in 2020, about half of Biden’s margin of victory. Only registered Democrats can participate in Tuesday’s primary.

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