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Two Pennsylvania races could be national bellwethers


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Washington Examiner

EAVER FALLS, Pennsylvania — The battles this year for two U.S. House seats currently held by incumbent Democrats in Western Pennsylvania will be big telltales for the direction of American politics. Rep. Summer Lee’s (D-PA) seat in Pittsburgh will test the durability of the progressive Left in a primary in May. The result this fall in Rep. Chris Deluzio’s (D-PA) suburban district will be an indicator of which party can win battleground districts.

First-termer Lee is facing challenger Bhavini Patel in her Democratic primary for the 12th Congressional District. Both women released fundraising numbers last week, with Patel raising over $300,000 —impressive numbers for a challenger — and Lee raking in a cool $1 million in the last quarter of 2023.

 

Deluzio, also in his first term, is not facing any primary challenger for the 17th Congressional District seat, but in November, he will in all likelihood face Republican challenger Rob Mercuri, a state representative. Deluzio raised more than $460,000 to the $203,000 raised by Mercuri.

What makes the race for the 17th District so competitive is its composition of both the lush upper-middle-class municipalities of Mt. Lebanon, Pine Township, and Oakmont and of the working-class neighborhoods of Aliquippa, Forest Hills, and Swissvale. Voters in the district often seesaw between the parties in different election years.

What also makes the race compelling is the temperament of both candidates. Both served in the military: Deluzio attended the U.S. Naval Academy and was commissioned as an active-duty naval officer, and Mercuri is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy who deployed for two tours in Iraq.:snip:

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