In this Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 photo, George Scott, the Democratic candidate for Congress in a Republican-leaning seat in conservative central Pennsylvania, listens to volunteer canvassers while meeting with them, in Camp Hill, Pa. A court-ordered redrawing of Pennsylvania's House districts has forced several Republican congressmen into more competitive seats and helped establish Pennsylvania as a key state for Democrats aiming to recapture the House majority. Rep. Scott Perry, who is facing a challenge from Scott, has won three elections by wide margins.
Ed Mahon is a reporter for PA Post.
Previously, he was an investigative and political reporter at the York Daily Record/Sunday News, where his work revealed holes in Pennsylvania’s system for protecting victims of domestic violence.
He grew up in Delaware County, graduated from La Salle University in Philadelphia and has lived in Pennsylvania most of his life.
In the interactive map below, you can see how each congressional district is likely to go in November, based on The Cook Political Report ratings.
The darker the red, the more likely that district is to vote Republican. The darker the blue, the more likely the district is to vote Democratic. The toss-up district is purple. You can zoom in and out to adjust the view on the map.
Whether Democrats take control of the U.S. House could come down to Pennsylvania.
The Cook Political Report says that 9 out of 18 races here are either competitive right now or have the potential to be by Election Day. Only California has more congressional races in play, by that measure.
The number of competitive districts is due in large part to a state Supreme Court decision to strike down the old congressional district boundaries, saying they were a partisan gerrymander. In February, the court issued its own map.
Here’s a look at those nine races. We’ll update the information below as we get closer to Election Day, including with more information about debates, polling and important issues.
The district: Lehigh and Northampton counties, plus part of Monroe County
Cook rating: Lean Democratic
Matt Rourke / Associated Press
Democratic congressional candidate Susan Wild stands on a stage during a campaign rally in Philadelphia, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018.
Matt Rourke / Associated Press
Republican congressional candidate Marty Nothstein poses for a photograph in Bethlehem, Pa., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018.
“This campaign has — in case you don’t know it, but hopefully you know this already — this has become one of the top races in the country. This is the race that if we don’t win it, we don’t flip the House this year,” Wild told them. “…We don’t want to feel on Nov. 7, the way we felt on Nov. 9 of 2016.”
Wild, an attorney and former solicitor for Allentown, is running against Republican Marty Nothstein, a Lehigh County commissioner and an Olympic gold medalist for cycling. Libertarian Tim Silfies is also running.
Nothstein recently sued a velodrome, its board president and The Morning Call, alleging that they “conspired to publicize a confidential investigation of alleged sexual misconduct against him to influence the election,” according to The Morning Call. The news organization said it stood by its reporting.
The district: Dauphin County, plus parts of York and Cumberland counties
Cook rating: Toss-up
About the race: Republican Scott Perry is facing his first competitive general election contest in Congress.
Perry, a former state lawmaker, was elected to Congress in 2012 by 25 percentage points. He won re-election by almost twice that margin in 2014 and by more than 32 percentage points in 2016. But the new district is much friendlier for Democratic challenger George Scott.
Both candidates have military experience: Perry is an Iraq war veteran who was promoted to brigadier general in the Army National Guard in 2015. Scott served 20 years in the Army, including overseas, and retired as a lieutenant colonel.
Marc Levy / Associated Press
Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania listens to speakers at a party rally with volunteer canvassers, Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018 in Harrisburg, Pa. A court-ordered redrawing of Pennsylvania’s House districts has forced several Republican congressmen, including Perry, into more competitive seats and helped establish Pennsylvania as a key state for Democrats aiming to recapture the House majority.
Both candidates have a “Scott” in their name — which Perry noted recently.
“My opponent doesn’t want anybody to know what he’s about,” Perry told dozens of Republican Party canvassers, according to an Associated Press profile of the race. “He wants them to see him in uniform, and go, ‘Well, that guy is almost like Perry; heck, his name’s almost the same.’ Well, that’s what he wants. We must tell them, ‘It’s a vision of two different futures.’”
At a Sept. 19 debate at the Rotary Club of York, Perry said he supports Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio for Speaker of the U.S. House, according to the York Daily Record. Meanwhile, Scott said he doesn’t think Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is the best person to bring about change for Democrats.
The Democrats are expected to pick up seats in counties in this more moderate area of the state, but the big question is how many.
The district: Bucks County and part of Montgomery County
Matt Rourke / Associated Press
Democratic congressional candidate Scott Wallace during a campaign rally in Philadelphia, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Cook rating: Toss-Up
About the race: This has emerged as the Republicans’ best chance of victory in the Philadelphia suburbs.
A Sept. 27 to Oct. 1 poll by Monmouth University found that while most voters in the district have a negative view of President Donald Trump and want to see Democrats take control of the House, Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick still led 50 percent to 46 percent.
Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., listens to a speaker during a campaign event at the Load Rite Trailers manufacturing facility in Fairless Hills, Pa., Monday, Sept. 17, 2018.
In late September, The Cook Political Report moved its rating of the district from leaning toward Fitzpatrick to being a toss-up. House Editor David Wasserman wrote that “Republicans haven’t disqualified Wallace and the Democrat’s prodigious self-funding is keeping him in close contention with the incumbent.”
Democrat Mary Gay Scanlon, an attorney and education advocate, defeated nine others to win the party’s nomination. Kim was uncontested in the Republican primary. She has experience as a special victims prosecutor, and she has described herself as a sexual assault survivor.
“In my district … the local Democrats and the left has become more engaged and, candidly, more angry by the week as President Trump says things and does things which many Republicans — myself amongst them — from time to time do disagree with,” Costello told MSNBC.
Democrat Chrissy Houlahan is favored. She’s a former Air Force captain who served as chief operating officer for the athletic apparel company AND1.
The district: Washington, Fayette, Greene counties, and part of Westmoreland County
Cook rating: Likely Republican
About the race:
Democrat Bibiana Boerio and state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler are competing for an open seat in a Republican-friendly district.
Boerio told WESA that her experience as an automotive executive will help her.
“I’ve worked in the hard physical reality where you have to get things done,” she said in a May story. “It’s not just simply a matter of talking on the floor and getting your soundbites on YouTube and taking votes.”
Reschenthaler is an attorney who served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, the legal arm of the Navy, during the Iraq War.
Dems are hoping to hoping to hold on to a seat in the northeast and pick up one in northwest.
The district: Crawford, Erie, Lawrence and Mercer counties, plus part of Butler County
Cook rating: Lean Republican
About the race:
Republican Mike Kelly, whose family has a long history in the car dealership business, has said he was angered by the federal bailout of General Motors in 2009, and that inspired him to run for Congress. He was elected in 2010.
He is running against Democrat Ron DiNicola, a Marine veteran and attorney.
Kelly made a similar statement during the Oct. 8 debate.
Keith Srakocic / Associated Press
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally endorsing the Republican ticket in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 in Erie, Pa.
“And I think, Ron, you have probably better experience with people who have killed people than anybody on the podium tonight,” Kelly said, drawing some boos. “He’s represented ’em. It’s just the facts.”
DiNicola replied: “Your comments about my constitutional duty are beneath the dignity of a member of Congress. And that’s one of the reasons why you ought to step aside.”
He said most of the cases that Kelly’s campaign referenced were 25 or 30 years old, and he was assigned to take on those cases by a judge or senior partners.
“I’ve been accused of being successful in life. You’ve also been successful,” Kelly said. “I’ve been accused of gaining great wealth while I was in Congress. The sale of a family-held business, 118 years old, is hardly an act of Congress. It is an act of commerce.”
A third candidate in the race, Libertarian Ebert Beeman, was not included in the debate.
The district: Lackawanna, Pike and Wayne counties, plus parts of Luzerne and Monroe counties
Cook rating: Likely Democratic
About the race: Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright was re-elected in 2016 despite a shift in northeastern Pennsylvania toward Trump, and The New York Times profiled him this summer, saying, “the congressman has strained to avoid … typecasting as a liberal shill. Among other flourishes, he has been eager to share word of a new hobby with prospective voters: deer hunting.”
Democrat Madeleine Dean, a state legislator, is favored in the 4th congressional district, which includes most of Montgomery County. It is considered a solid Democratic district, even though it is an open seat. She is running against Republican Dan David.