Pennsylvania potentials queue up for 2014 Congress elections

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February 28, 2013

Pennsylvania

By Maresa Strano

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: The deadlines for candidates to file their nominating petitions for congressional seats in 2014 are still a long way away. Yet for declared hopefuls seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives, in addition to those debating entry, in 2014, it is never too early to begin visualizing their names, and their prospective competitors', appearing on the ballot.

On February 26, 2013, PoliticsPA and The Hill previewed a combined three Pennsylvania races which are already showing promise, either for primary competitiveness or because the district may be vulnerable to partisan switch. Of the eighteen total House seats up for election in 2014, Republicans currently hold thirteen.

One of these seats is in the traditionally blue, though recently reddening, 12th District, where fallout from 2010 redistricting teamed up with a deep pocketed Republican challenger to spell narrow defeat for Democratic incumbent Rep. Mark Critz in Nov. 2012. Fresh off his successful challenge, Keith Rothfus (R) will likely have to face Critz for a re-match in 2014. Given that Critz lost by only four percentage points while Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney dominated the district vote in the general election, the Democrats are looking to Critz as their best hope to re-claim the seat.[1]

In the 11th District, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is reportedly vetting former Rep. Chris Carney as a potential challenger to GOP incumbent Lou Barletta. Although Pennsylvania's 11th is "darker red than the party's 2012 congressional targets," Carney's background makes him an appealing candidate. He unseated a Republican in the 2006 election, and was re-elected by 10th District voters in 2008. After voting for the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as "Obamacare," Carney's popularity dropped enough to clear a wide path for Republican challenger Tom Marino to win the seat from him in 2010. Since the districts were redrawn in 2010, most of Carney's 10th District base, and 24% of all 10th District voters, are now part of the 11th District owned by Barletta. The Democratic party leaders' interest in Carney suggests they are optimistic that many of his former constituents will have forgiven his support for Obamacare by the time they hit the polls in 2014.[2]

Finally, the race for Pennsylvania's 13th District seat is drawing a number of hopeful candidates; the district is, by contrast, currently held by a Democrat, Allyson Schwartz, who may open the seat in 2014 in order to focus on a gubernatorial run against incumbent Tom Corbett (R). Among the six Democratic candidates PoliticsPA highlighted as possible replacements for Schwartz, State Representative Brendan Boyle and State Senator Daylin Leach look like strong contenders.[3] In Boyle's case, the 13th Congressional District happens to encompass the entirety of the 107th legislative district, which he has represented since 2009, as well as the entire district of State Rep. Kevin Boyle, his brother.

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