Election 2018

The Procrastinator’s Guide to the very busy May 15, 2018 primary

A resource guide for the resourceful voter.

Top row, from left: Valerie Gaydos, Republican candidate in the 44th state House district primary; State Sen. Randy Vulakovich, Republican incumbent in the 38th state Senate district primary; Paul Costa, Democratic incumbent in the 34th state House district; Summer Lee, Democratic challenger in the 34th state House district; Bottom row, from left: Sara Innamorato, Democratic challenger in the 21st state House district; Rep. Dom Costa, Democratic incumbent in the 21st state House district; Bibiana Boerio, Democratic candidate for the 14th U.S. Congressional District; State Rep. Lou Barletta, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Top row, from left: Valerie Gaydos, Republican candidate in the 44th state House district primary; State Sen. Randy Vulakovich, Republican incumbent in the 38th state Senate district primary; Paul Costa, Democratic incumbent in the 34th state House district; Summer Lee, Democratic challenger in the 34th state House district; Bottom row, from left: Sara Innamorato, Democratic challenger in the 21st state House district; Rep. Dom Costa, Democratic incumbent in the 21st state House district; Bibiana Boerio, Democratic candidate for the 14th U.S. Congressional District; State Rep. Lou Barletta, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

colindeppen

Updated 10:30 a.m. 

Will the Costa dynasty fall to challengers from the hard-left? Will a scandal-plagued lieutenant governor be given the boot? Will a new congressional map flip the script?

These questions and more will be answered soon enough. On May 15, Democrats and Republicans — and only them — will head to the polls to select the candidates they want on the ballot in the November general election.

And while this is always a crucial step in the process, this year it’s arguably even more so with a huge number of candidates running, Democrats looking to flip seats in states like Pennsylvania come November, and Republicans looking to retain super majorities in Congress amid shifting public alliances. Think of the midterms as the Super Bowl in this scenario and the primary as the NFL Draft by popular vote.

Bad sports metaphors aside, here we offer our resource guide to a slew of primary races in western Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh. It consists of links to news coverage, candidate webpages, platform explainers and social media profiles, all in an attempt to give you the tools you need to form your own opinions in one location.

And because there’s so much to get to, we will end this preamble right now.


Voter FAQ


Mapquest

First some background on why this primary is so unusual.

Earlier this year, a panel of mostly Democratic state judges threw out Pennsylvania’s 7-year-old congressional district map, ruling it an unconstitutional gerrymander by Republicans. (As you might expect, Republicans were none too pleased.)

The old map was replaced by a new map that experts say is increasingly favorable to Democrats. (Again, Republicans not happy.)

That new map is in effect for this primary.

And the ripple effects of that shift are hard to overstate.

District boundaries were changed almost overnight. Campaign resources were redirected. Incumbents were suddenly endangered. Political strategies were blown up. In some cases, political advantages were erased.

It’s important to note the map changes only apply to races for U.S. Congress.

Primary races for state governor, state lieutenant governor, the state House, state Senate and U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania are not impacted.

But U.S. Congress definitely is, and many expect that because the new map is more favorable to Democrats it will help the party capture new seats in a battleground state and eat away at a Republican margin in Congress.

New kids on the bloc

The new Pa. congressional districts map

The new Pa. congressional districts map

Pennsylvania Department of State

In western Pennsylvania, there are six new districts on the map:

  • The 13th, which stretches from the eastern edge of Westmoreland County to Adams County and up to Altoona;
  • The 14th, which includes portions of Westmoreland, Greene, Fayette and Washington counties in the southwest;
  • The 15th comprising a massive, 13-county swath of the Pennsylvania wilds in the north central part of the state;
  • The 16th, which runs in a strip from Lawrence and Butler counties up to Erie.
  • The 17th comprising Beaver County, a portion of Butler and much of Allegheny County north of Pittsburgh;
  • The 18th, which includes the City of Pittsburgh and stretches into surrounding communities like Edgewood and Monroeville, Bethel Park and Elizabeth Township

Each district replaces an old one with an adjusted configuration that changes the demographic makeup of said district. The lawmakers representing those old districts are now running as incumbents in altered territory. The complications from that have been shared by both parties — but mostly Republicans.


U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania  

The new 13th

The GOP gold rush in the new 13th was touched off by U.S. Rep. Bill Schuster’s decision not to seek re-election there. (Schuster had long represented the soon-to-be former 9th District which is being replaced by the new 13th.)

Democrat

Brent M. Ottaway
Connect: Twitter | Facebook

Republicans

State Rep. Stephen Bloom
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Art Halvorson
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Benjamin Hornberger
Connect: Twitter | Facebook

John Joyce
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Doug Mastriano
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Travis Schooley
Connect: Twitter | Facebook

Bernard Washabaugh II
Connect: Website | Facebook

Links you should read


U.S. Rep. in the new 14th

The new 14th district is slightly more competitive for Democrats in the general election than the old 18th district it’s replacing, but it’s still heavily tilted Republican. The result is a closely watched Republican primary race between State Rep. Rick Saccone (PA-39) and State Senator Guy Reschenthaler (PA-37) which at this point is more about style than substance.

Democrats

Bibiana Boerio
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Tom Prigg
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Adam Sedlock
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Robert Solomon
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Republicans

State Sen. Guy Reschenthaler
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

State Rep. Rick Saccone
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Links you should read


U.S. Rep. in the new 15th

In the new 15th, Democrats Susan Boser and Wade Jodun are vying for Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson’s seat. The new 15th is even more Republican than the district it replaces. Where the old district voted Republican in the last presidential election by a 28-point margin, voters in the new 15th did so by a 43 percent margin.

Democrats

Susan Boser
Connect: Website | Facebook

Wade Jodun
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook


U.S. Rep. in the new 16th

There are three Democrats running in the primary in the new 16th, each hoping to face the Republican incumbent, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a staunch Trump supporter, in November. The district is somewhat more favorable to Democrats now but only slightly.

Democrats

Ronald Dincola
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Robert Multari
Connect: Website | Facebook

Chris Rieger
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Republican

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly — incumbent
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Link you should read


U.S. Rep. in the new 17th

In the new 17th District, Congressman Conor Lamb — who just months ago won a special election in the soon-to-be former 18th Congressional District — is uncontested in the Democratic primary and will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus (of the soon-to-be former 12th district) in November. Rothfus, a Republican, is also running unopposed.

Democrat

U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb
Connect: Website |  Twitter | Facebook

Republican

U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Link you should read


U.S. Rep. in the new 18th

In the new 18th, incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle is facing a Democratic challenger in the May 15 primary — Janis Brooks, a pastor from North Versailles, who has run against Doyle before. There is no Republican running in the new district, which was very Democrat heavy before and is only slightly less so under the new map.

Democrats

Janis Brooks
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle — incumbent
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Link you should read


US Sen. Bob Casey

US Sen. Bob Casey

BY BILL BURKE/PAGE ONE, FOR THE AFLCIO, VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania  

There’s one more federal race on Republican primary ballots, and it’s the race for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania.

Democrat

Sen. Bob Casey — incumbent
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Republicans

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

State Rep. Jim Christiana
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

You may recognize Barletta from the president’s endorsement of his Senate campaign, the consideration of Barletta for a Trump cabinet position and Barletta’s ultimate refusal to take it, or Barletta’s famously hard-right positions on issues like immigration and gun control.

Christiana has identified defunding Planned Parenthood as a top priority. He’s also criticized Barletta for his rhetoric on the subject of immigration.

This is a statewide race open to all Republican voters in the primary.

Links you should read: 


State House

Pennsylvania House District 21 | Map

This race epitomizes the tug-of-war underway between the Democratic Party’s most progressive wing and its more traditional vestiges. As the Post-Gazette reported, it’s been eight years since Dom Costa or his legislator cousin Paul Costa have faced a primary challenger and now both have opposition from candidates positioned farther left on the political spectrum. Both Innamorato and Paul Costa’s challenger Summer Lee have the Democratic Socialists of America group’s endorsement.

Democrats

State Rep. Dom Costa — incumbent
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Sarah Innamorato
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Links you should read


Pennsylvania House District 34 | Map

This is the Socialists vs. the Costas, Part II.

Democrats

State Rep. Paul Costa — incumbent
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Summer Lee
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Links you should read


Pennsylvania House District 24 | Map

Democrats

William Anderson
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

State Rep. Ed Gainey — incumbent
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Todd Koger
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Both Koger and Anderson have run for this office, and against Gainey, before. Anderson has done so multiple times. Gainey took office in 2013.

Links you should read


Pennsylvania House District 19 | Map

Democrats

Aerion Abney
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Ebony Taylor
Connect: Website | Facebook

State Rep. Jake Wheatley — incumbent
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Link you should read


Pennsylvania House District 20 | Map

Democrats

Mike Devine
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

State. Rep. Adam Ravenstahl — incumbent
Connect: Twitter | Facebook

Link you should read


Pennsylvania House District 30 | Map

Democrats

Kareem Kandil
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Betsy Monroe
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Jacob Pavlecic
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Republican

State Rep. Hal English — incumbent
Connect: Website | Facebook

Links you should read


Pennsylvania House District 32 | Map

Democrats

State Rep. Anthony M. DeLuca — incumbent
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Erin Vecchio
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Links you should read


Pennsylvania House District 39 | Map

State Rep. Rick Saccone is not running for re-election in this seat and is instead running for Congress.

Democrats

Rob Rhoderick
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Barbara J Shah
Connect: URL not found

Republicans

Tom Kirsch
Connect: Facebook

Michael J Puskaric
Connect: Website | Facebook

Links you should read


Pennsylvania House District 40 | Map

Incumbent State Rep. John Maher is not running for reelection.

Democrats

Edward Eichenlaub
Connect: Facebook

Sharon Guidi
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Republicans

Paul Dixon
Connect: Facebook

James Roman
Connect: Website | Facebook

Natalie Nicole Mihalek Stuck
Connect: Website | Facebook

Links you should read


Pennsylvania House District 44 | Map

Incumbent Republican State Rep. Mark Mustio is not running for reelection.

Democrat

Michele Knoll
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Republicans

David Bachman
Connect: Website | Facebook

Bob Doddato
Connect: Website | Facebook

Valerie Gaydos
Connect: WebsiteTwitter | Facebook

Scott Larue
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Links you should read


Pennsylvania House District 46 | Map

Democrats

Reuben Brock
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Byron Timmins
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Republican

State Rep. Jason Ortitay — incumbent
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Links you should read


Pennsylvania House District 54 | Map

Republican incumbent Eli Evankovich isn’t running for re-election.

Democrats

Robert Bertha
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Jonathan McCabe
Connect: Facebook

Republicans

Bob Brooks
Connect: Website | Facebook

Bryan Kline
Connect: Website | Facebook

Michael Korns
Connect: Website | Facebook

Maryalice Newborn
Connect: Website | Facebook


State Senate races

Pennsylvania State Senate District 38 | Map

Democrats

Stephanie Walsh
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Lindsey Williams
Connect: Twitter | Facebook

Republicans

State Sen. Randy Vulakovich — incumbent
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Jeremy Shaffer
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Links you should read


wolfbudget2017
Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

Governor

Democrats

Tom Wolf — incumbent
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

For Democrats there will be only one name on the primary ballot for governor, that of incumbent Tom Wolf.

Republicans

Laura Ellsworth
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Paul Mango
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

State Sen. Scott Wagner
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

From a bystander’s perspective, this race has been a doozy, complete with a bitter dialogue between Wagner and Mango and a full scale rebuke of a Mango campaign ad by the state Republican Party. There are also substantive differences between the candidates as explained in this primer from PennLive.

Other links you should read


Lieutenant governor

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf is the incumbent and unopposed in the Democratic primary. The same does not hold true for his second-in-command, Mike Stack, whose high-profile falling out with Wolf was followed by a slew of Democrats announcing their candidacies for Stack’s seat. Wolf has endorsed no one, not even Stack. But Stack is still running for re-election, setting up what might be a very awkward primary night for Wolf & Co.

Democrats

Nina Ahmad
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Kathi Cozzone
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

John Fetterman
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Ray Sosa
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Lt. Gov. Mike Stack — incumbent
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Republicans

Jeffrey Bartos
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Kathy Coder
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Peg Luksik
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Diana Irey Vaughan
Connect: Website | Twitter | Facebook

Links you should read

Correction: This article has been corrected to indicate that Paul and Dom Costa are cousins.