Pennsylvania: Primary Results Set Stage for Key Battleground

by Nathan L. Gonzales April 24, 2024 · 10:39 AM EDT

WIth Pennsylvania’s primary in the books, there’s clarity for the general elections in the Keystone State. And with competitive races for the White House, Senate and House, Pennsylvania stands to play a key role in which party is in power next year.

Senate. Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. and Republican Dave McCormick ran unopposed in their respective primaries, but the matchup is officially set in one of the most important races in the fight for control of the Senate. With Republicans likely to pick up a seat in West Virginia, Democrats can’t afford to lose any more of their own, including Casey. 

With those high stakes, the DSCC greeted McCormick to the general election with an ad questioning the Republicans’ rural roots and highlighting his business ties to China. Republicans are attacking Casey as a hypocrite for talking about being independent, but voting close to lockstep with President Joe Biden. There will be plenty more attacks over the next six months. Tilt Democratic. 

1st District (Northern Philadelphia suburbs) Brian Fitzpatrick, R, re-elected 55%. Biden 52%. The congressman took pro-life activist Mark Houck seriously — and a Democratic group tried to boost Houck — but Fitzpatrick prevailed, and it wasn’t particularly close in the end. Fitzpatrick won 61-39 percent with 99 percent of the estimated vote counted. For some context, Fitzpatrick won his 2022 primary, 66-34 percent. Democrat Ashley Ehasz, who lost to Fitzpatrick by 10 points in the 2022 general election, didn’t have a primary this time. She’ll be an underdog again this year. Likely Republican.

7th District (Lehigh Valley) Susan Wild, D, re-elected 51%. Biden 49.7%. State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie defeated Air Force veteran Kevin Dellicker 43-34 percent in the GOP primary. Mackenzie had help from the Koch-affiliated Americans for Prosperity. The winner will take on Wild, who had more than $2.6 million in the bank on March 31. But Biden narrowly carried the district in 2020, and may indeed lose it to Trump this November, making Wild’s task more difficult. Tilt Democratic.

8th District (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and northeastern Pennsylvania) Matt Cartwright, D, re-elected 51%. Trump 51%. Kuharchik Construction CEO Robert Bresnahan won the GOP nomination without opposition. With his personal money and union ties, GOP strategists are confident he’ll be a better challenger than political consultant Jim Bognet, who has lost the last two races to Cartwright. But defeating the congressman won’t be easy. Even though Cartwright represents a district Trump won narrowly in 2020, the Democratic incumbent has weathered plenty of attacks in the past. Cartwright had $3.2 million in the bank on April 3 for this race, and Pennsylvania media markets will be saturated with presidential and Senate ads, so this will be an expensive race for Bresnahan and the GOP. Tilt Democratic.

10th District (Harrisburg and York areas) Scott Perry, R, re-elected 54%. Trump 51%. Former WGAL anchor Janelle Stelson finished ahead of former TOPGUN pilot Mike O’Brien 44-23 percent with 99 percent of the estimated vote counted in the Democratic primary. Democrats believe Stelson’s past as a Republican could be an asset in the district and that Perry is vulnerable on his attempt to overturn the 2020 election. But the district supported Trump in the past and may very well do so again, making Stelson’s task more difficult. Lean Republican.

12th District (Pittsburgh and eastern suburbs) Summer Lee, D, elected 56%. Biden 59%. Lee fended off Edgewood Councilwoman Bhavini Patel 61-39 percent in the Democratic primary. The congresswoman also had to deal with GOP mega-donor Jeff Yass, who funded the pro-Patel super PAC. Solid Democratic.

17th District (Western and northern Pittsburgh suburbs) Chris Deluzio, D, elected 53%. Biden 52%. State Rep. Rob Mercuri won the GOP nomination without opposition and will face the congressman in this suburban district. Republicans want to run the same playbook against Deluzio as they did last cycle, painting him as too liberal for the district, while Democrats will use access to abortion against Mercuri, as they will in dozens of districts across the country. Deluzio had $1.5 million in the bank on April 3 compared to Mercuri’s $541,000. Lean Democratic.