Next Tuesday,Pennsylvania will hold their primaries. The gubernatorial election originally played large in Pennsylvania on the GOP side until all of embattled incumbent Republican Governor Tom Corbett’s opposition dropped by the wayside. Therefore, all the drama in that race will played out on the Democratic side. Originally, Allyson Schwartz was the favorite, but that has changed of late and it appears Tom Wolfe is set to become the Democratic nominee. Still, there are some interesting Republican House primaries of note.
The first congressional race with a contested primary will be in the 9th which stretches from the Maryland border to the outskirts of Harrisburg to the east and Pittsburgh to the west. Cook ranks it +10 Republican; I rank it +17 Republican especially considering a Democrat has not represented it since the 1930s. Bill Schuster was first elected in 2000 after his father resigned the seat. Although his opponents in the primary- Art Halvorson and Travis Schooley- are trying to portray him as an entrenched career politician, it is the surname that is entrenched. Democrats will have a very uphill battle winning this district. For my money, however, I would support the candidacy of Travis Schooley since he brings conservative credentials, some political experience (he challenged Schuster in 2012), and youthful enthusiasm. Supporting someone other than Schuster holds little danger given the GOP slant of this district and the relative weakness of the Democratic candidate.
Allyson Schwartz is vacating the 13th District to run for Governor. Considered a relatively strong Democratic district (Cook +12), I rate it even stronger than that. This is one of those largely Philadelphia suburban districts that determines the overall slant of the state. Unlike other districts in Pennsylvania, voters here have oscillated between Democratic and Republican representatives. Clay McQueen has dropped out of the race due to personal and business reasons, although his meager fundraising may be the real reason. That leaves Dee Adcock who ran against the highly popular Schwartz in 2010 and gave Schwartz her biggest electoral scare of her tenure. However, that was 2010- a Republican wave year. The other candidate is Bev Plosa-Bowser. There is nothing to lose here. This district takes in some fairly affluent territory along with northeastern Philadelphia itself. If the GOP has any chance in an open race in Pennsylvania, it is with a moderate candidate and that person is Bev Plosa-Bowser.
Finally, there is the 17th District. This is the only “weak” Democratic district actually held by a Democrat- Matt Cartwright- and thus a target. If Republicans hope to pick up any seats in Pennsylvania, this would be the main target. Of the three GOP candidates- Matt Dietz, David Moylan and Matt Connolly- Matt Dietz is the most promising. The 17th lies in the heart of the state and includes Harrisburg and Hershey. Prior to the Bush administration, this was a more reliable Republican district and has become more moderate since. The best chance is with a middle-of-the-road Republican candidate and that person is Matt Dietz.