Updated March 22
As votes are still being tallied from the March 13 special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District, congressional candidates are thinking about getting on the ballot in the May primary — in new districts.
Candidates worked to finish collecting signatures, as the deadline to declare their intent to run by filing petitions with the Pa. Department of State was 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The newly redistricted map wasn’t in place for the special election in the 18th congressional district, but will be for the May primary.
A panel of federal judges today rejected a lawsuit from Republican lawmakers that challenged the new map, making it more likely the map will stay in place, Philly.com reported. Later in the day, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the new congressional map, ending the second court case where Republicans asked for the map to be blocked.
But even before the court rulings, candidates were moving forward to get on the ballots. Several had already declared they were running before the map changed, but the redistricting, as well as Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone’s decisions on where to run, caused a shake up, especially for Democrats.
In the old District 12, multiple Democrats had already vowed to challenge current U.S. Rep Keith Rothfus, a Republican. That race is now in the new District 17, and one of those Democrats is Lamb, the likely PA18 special election winner. Meanwhile in the new District 14, Saccone is running to represent much of the area in the old District 18, but will face a primary challenger.
Here’s a look at before-and-after maps and candidate lineup
Candidate lists are based on who has announced a run. As of 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Brooks, Doyle, Rothfus and Saccone had submitted petitions.
|District 12||District 14||District 18 special election|
|Democrat Aaron Anthony||Democrat Michael Doyle||Democrat Conor Lamb|
|Democrat Ray Linsenmayer||Republican Shannon Edwards||Republican Rick Saccone|
|Democrat Erin McClelland|
|Democrat Tom Prigg|
|Democrat Beth Tarasi|
|Republican Keith Rothfus|
|District 14||District 17||District 18|
|Democrat Bibiana Boerio||Democrat Conor Lamb||Democrat Michael Doyle|
|Democrat Tom Prigg||Democrat Ray Linsenmayer||Democrat Janis Brooks|
|Democrat Adam Sedlock||Democrat Beth Tarasi|
|Democrat Bob Solomon||Republican Keith Rothfus|
|Republican Guy Reschenthaler|
|Republican Rick Saccone|
District 12 ➡️ District 17
Before Tuesday’s special election, multiple Democrats had already declared that they were challenging current Rothfus in the old District 12. But now, much of the old 12th District, including Rothfus’s home in Sewickley, is in the new 17th District, where he is running.
Lamb also plans to run in the new district, his campaign confirmed.
While the old District 12 stretched north of the city of Pittsburgh from Beaver to Cambria and Somerset counties, the new District 17 is north and east of Pittsburgh and includes portions of Allegheny, Beaver and Butler counties.
For Democrat Tom Prigg, the outcome of the special election and Lamb running in the 17th District were reason enough to run in the new 14th District instead.
“I could run back home instead,” he said, adding that he thinks there’s a lot overlap in the issues of the old 12th district and the new 14th, including rural poverty and a job desert.
Aaron Anthony, who originally said he would run, dropped out of the race Monday to support Lamb, his campaign said. “I did not get in this race to primary an elected Democrat and sitting congressman,” he said in the announcement, citing his goal to flip the former District 12. On Tuesday, Erin McClelland also ended her bid in support of Lamb.
“Beth lives in Sewickley and was going to stick with whichever district that Keith would run in,” said Abigail Gardner, a Tarasi campaign spokesperson. Plus, she said it’s about who Tarasi is — a lifelong resident, a lawyer and a mom — that makes her a strong candidate.
But the change in the district and its footprint means going out to new areas to meet voters, Gardner added.
Fellow Democratic candidate Ray Linsenmayer added that although the 17th District is just a few weeks old, the issues fighting for more opportunity and better jobs as well as fighting against the opioid crisis are the same.
“From the moment I started, I knew it was going to be a vibrant primary and I welcome that to make the race stronger,” he said.
District 18 ➡️ District 14
Regardless of the special election outcome in the old District 18, Republican Rick Saccone said he would run in the new District 14, which will still include Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties. The new district also adds portions of Fayette county to the mix.
He’ll face Guy Reschenthaler as a primary challenger, per the Beaver County Times. Reschenthaler also sought to be on the ticket for the special election.
Among Democrats, Prigg, who moved to the new 14th from the old District 12 will face primary challengers in Bob Solomon, who sought the PA18 special election nod; Adam Sedlock, who told the Observer-Reporter in February that he was running in the new district; and Bibiana Boerio, a former auto executive who worked on the Lamb campaign for the special election in the former District 18.
In many ways, the new district is nearly the same as the old 18th and it’s a district where Solomon has worked in multiple hospitals and has ties to the people there, campaign spokesman David Misra said. Although Solomon was already campaigning before the special election, Misra said the campaign took a break to see if Lamb would chose to run in the 14th, but when he didn’t, the Solomon campaign continued. Regardless, the race is still going to be a hard fight, Misra said.
And for Prigg, it’s a matter of helping the people in the district where he grew up. Just being a Democrat isn’t good enough, he said adding that in the end, everyone wants the same thing — opportunity and food on the table
District 14 ➡️ District 18
While old 18th District included parts of Allegheny County, it’s now the district most similar to the footprint of the old District 14, which includes Pittsburgh.
Current U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, who represents the city in the old District 14, has already filed petitions to run in the new District 18. Janis Books has also filed petitions to run in the primary against Doyle.
On the Republican side, Shannon Edwards launched a campaign with plans to challenge Doyle regardless of the what district that would be, and her campaign said she would file petitions in the new District 18. However, she was not listed in a state database of candidates that met the Tuesday deadline to file those petitions, the Post-Gazette reported.
A previous version of this article misspelled David Misra’s last name.