U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-6, has $1.5 million on hand for her re-election campaign in 2020, more than anyone else in Pennsylvania's congressional delegation. Houlahan is shown here at a rally in Philadelphia during her first run for office, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)
Emily is a reporter and newsletter producer for statehouse accountability news organization PA Post. She was the senior reporter for statewide public media collaboration Keystone Crossroads. Previously, she covered city hall for PennLive/The Patriot-News (Harrisburg, Pa.), was a watchdog and city hall reporter at The Press of Atlantic City and reported for the Northwest Herald. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.
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.
Katie is a reporter for WITF and hosts PA Post's political podcast State of the State. For two years she has covered the legislature, governor, and a wide range of political issues for public radio stations across Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Democrats had big wins in the 2018 midterm election, and now they see a chance to pick up the seats of three more GOP congressmen. At the same time, Democrats must defend two lawmakers representing districts that Donald Trump won in 2016 — not to mention re-elect the five freshman lawmakers who are running again. Both parties will play hard in the Keystone State.
So far, Democrats have a fundraising advantage — the party’s incumbents and challengers have about $5.3 million in their coffers, combined — nearly twice as much as Republicans.
The fundraising chase isn’t only about 2020, according to Kyle Kopko, an assistant professor of political science at Elizabethtown College.
Candidates probably are thinking about how to capitalize on voter enthusiasm now with 2022 in mind, Kopko said.
By then, the decennial census results will be in. That means congressional districts will be redrawn — this time, drawn by state lawmakers instead of the state Supreme Court (probably). And there could be fewer seats to map if Pennsylvania’s population growth doesn’t keep up.
“There’s a great amount of polarization among the electorate towards Donald Trump. Is he going to be able to energize his base to the same extent that they were in 2016? I don’t know,” Kopko said. “And even if the Democrats do have an advantage going into 2020, if they do have a better turnout, is that going to sustain itself, then, for 2022?”
PA Post reviewed the latest fundraising reports filed with the Federal Election Commission by incumbents and challengers. Here’s where the money chase stands 15 months before the 2020 election:
Candidate: Brian Fitzpatrick, a Bucks County Republican
2018 victory: Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent who has frequently broken with other Republicans in Congress, won re-election by a narrow victory in 2018 over Democratic philanthropist Scott Wallace. Fitzpatrick is the only Republican House member remaining in the Philly suburbs.
2018 victory: When the state Supreme Court redrew Pennsylvania’s congressional districts, Chester County became much friendlier territory for Democrats — and prompted incumbent Republican Congressman Ryan Costello to not seek re-election. Houlahan went on to defeat a different Republican opponent by nearly 18 percentage points. Three Republicans have filed to challenge her. One of them, Tom Siedenbuehl, reported loaning himself $100,000 and having $97,073 on hand for his campaign. The other two are Everett Stern and John Emmons.
What to expect for 2020: The Cook Political Report considers the district a solid Democratic seat for 2020.
What to expect for 2020: The Cook Political Report considers the district a likely Democraticseat for 2020. One candidate, Darryl Hendricks, hasfiled to challenge Wild in the primary. Republican Dean Browning, a former Lehigh County commissioner, has $135,341 on hand to try again for the 7th. He lost the Republican primary in 2018 by a point (about 300 votes) to Olympic cyclist Marty Nothstein.
Candidate: Matthew A. Cartwright, a Lackawanna County Democrat in his fourth term
2018 victory: Unchallenged in the primary, Cartwright won the general election by 10 points last November.
What to expect for 2020: Cook has the eighth districtleaning Democratic, which means Dems are expected to have an edge in a competitive election. It’s one of two Pa. districts that went for Trump and elected a Democrat to Congress (17 is the other), notesUVA’s Center for Politics.
Candidate: Dan Meuser, a freshman Republican from Luzerne County
2018victory: Meuser handily won a three-way primary and ended nearly 20 points ahead in thegeneral election against Denny Wolf. Meuser and Wolf had beenstate secretaries of Revenue and Agriculture, respectively, under different governors.
Candidate: Scott Perry, York County Republican seeking a fifth term
Ending cash on hand: $300,844
Debts/loans owed by committee: $0
2018 victory: Perry secured his fourth win by less than 3 points over George Scott, a political newcomer with family ties to politics. Perry had a history ofdouble-digit victory margins before the congressional map changed and made his district more competitive.
What to expect for 2020: State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s campaign has started soliciting donations, but he hasn’t filed any financial disclosures yet to the Federal Election Commission (his campaign committee’s statement of organization is there, though). The second-term Democrat first won the state row office concurrently with his would-be fourth term in the statehouse (a seat he promptly resigned). In short, a higher profile than Scott. Could that be the three-point difference? Maybe. Cook rates Pa-10 as a tossup. And DePasquale will have to get through the primary first: Democrat Tom Brier, an attorney from Hershey, is running. And Bobby Jeffries, a logistics manager who’s also from Hershey, has filed to challenge Perry in the primary.
Candidate: Lloyd Smucker, Republican from Lancaster County
2018 victory: At the last minute, Smucker’s re-election run registered on analysts’ radar as one to watch. Democrat Jess King posed a relatively strong – if ultimately unsuccessful challenge – in a district long considered safe for Republicans.
What to expect for 2020: Even though this race heated up in 2018, national analysts aren’t paying attention to it at this stage. Kopko’s assessment: the 11th will be competitive if King runs again (neither she, nor anyone else, has filed yet to challenge Smucker). If not, the district won’t be contentious unless an equally strong candidate emerges — and Kopko thinks that’s unlikely.
Candidate: Fred Keller, freshman Republican from Snyder County
Ending cash on hand: $140,600
Debts/loans owed by committee: $0
2019 victory: Keller won a special election this spring – with more than twice as many votes as Democrat Marc Friedenberg – to take the seat vacated by RepublicanTom Marino, who resigned within a few weeks of starting his fifth term.
What to expect for 2020: This sprawling, Coal Region district is considered safely Republican.
Candidate: John Joyce, a freshman Republican from Blair County
2018 victory: Reschenthaler, a former state Senator, won a relatively competitive race against Democrat Bibiana Boerio by a 57.9 to 42.1 margin. Before that, he had beaten State House Representative Rick Saccone in a competitive primary election.
What to expect for 2020: Reschenthaler has made his reputation as a relatively bipartisan lawmaker–though his recent, tough questioning of Robert Mueller fell along a more conservative line. President Donald Trump won Reschenthaler’s district by 29 percentage points, and there are currently no Democrats filed to oppose the incumbent Republican.
Candidate: Glenn Thompson, a Centre County Republican
2018 victory: Lamb’s road to Washington was more complicated than most. In March of 2018, he went up against GOP State Representative Rick Saccone in a tight special election to fill a vacant seat. Lamb won that race, but because the district had been redrawn in the middle of it, he had to turn around and run a second race for the general election against Keith Rothfus, an incumbent who’d been drawn into it. Lamb beat Rothfus 56.3 43.7 percent.
What to expect for 2020: The Cook Political Report says Lamb’s district is competitive, but strongly favors the incumbent. One GOP challenger has filed against Lamb. Scott Timko, a pilot and former Air Force officer, reports having $9,580 on hand.
Candidate: Mike Doyle, a Democrat in Congress more than two decades
2018 victory: Doyle did not face a Republican challenger in his last election.
What to expect for 2020: The 18th district encompasses Pittsburgh and its surrounding suburbs, and is considered eminently safe for Democrats. Doyle, the longest-serving member of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation, has held the seat since 1995. He has rarely been threatened by primary challengers, but this year 32-year-old University of Pittsburgh Law professor Gerald Dickinson, a Democrat, appears to be mounting a serious campaign for the seat. Dickinson reports having $95,521 on hand. Independent Donald Raymond Nevills and Republican Kimberly Mack have also filed to run, though neither has reported any earnings.