With the final deadline for filing petitions to be on the ballot for the May primary having passed yesterday at 5pm, we saw only a few changes in who will run last night. However, this morning, the scene is already changing.
In the race for governor, four Democrats and two Republicans made it on the ballot successfully. On the Democratic side, we’ve covered their positions on gun control before, except for Sen. Tony Williams who was not in the race at the time. His last NRA rating was D – hardly a friend to the Second Amendment in Pennsylvania.
In the category of Lieutenant Governor, there was only one noteworthy surprise. State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe filed rather unexpectedly for the office on the Republican side. Both Democrats and Republicans have already endorsed in the race, and that support usually brings with it access to party support. This morning, Rep. Metcalfe is expected to formally launch his bid for Lt. Gov. at the State Capitol today. While Rep. Metcalfe has been a dedicated friend to gun owners, with the late start, a general lack of name recognition statewide to the broader electorate, and lack of a party endorsement, his campaign will likely be an uphill battle. That might explain why he has also filed paperwork to run for his state house seat again at the same time.
In Congress, the competitive races fill up pages on the candidate list. Consider that the race to oust Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper includes a two-way primary on the Democratic side and a six-way competition on the Republican side. Over in the Southwest, the competition to take former Rep. John Murtha’s seat has a new set of twists and turns. After Mark Critz won his party’s support for the special election to fill the rest of the term, former Treasurer Barbara Hafer announced she would still challenge him in the primary for the election in November. However, after filing the paperwork last night to be on the ballot, she has already dropped out this morning. Regardless, that still leaves a four-way race for the Democratic nomination and two-way competition for the GOP nomination in the 12th District.
In PA-8, Rep. Patrick Murphy has lined up four Republican challengers, two of whom have been recognized by the NRCC for meeting high campaign benchmarks. In PA-13, the quest to unseat Rep. Allyson Schwartz has three GOP candidates on the ballot. The two counties comprising the district split on their endorsements and a third candidate stayed in the race to take advantage of the split. In PA-19, Rep. Todd Platts has challengers on both tickets, but he is expected to keep the seat.
Though some seats are considered extremely safe based on general popularity of the incumbent or makeup of the local electorate, it is noteworthy that only one Congressional seat has no challengers at all this year – that is PA-9 represented by Rep. Bill Shuster.
In the state house, there are few surprises. We’ve covered the retirements fairly thoroughly. And we’ll try to do a detailed breakdown for each area soon. But, a quick check shows that some of our friends aren’t being challenged while others are. The seats with the most names on the ballot are House districts 194, 195 and 199 and Senate district 22. The first two each have seven Democrats and a single Republican while the latter House district has seven Republicans and one Democrat. The Senate district also has seven Democrats with one lone Republican.