Election Day: Pennsylvania primary 2018

Listen 3:32
(Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY)

(Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY)

Updated: 4:40 p.m.

Voter turnout in the Pennsylvania primary has been fairly light.

With new congressional district maps in use for the first time, there was concern that voters could be confused.

Voting in the Democratic primary in Lower Merion, Barbara Katzman said she did a little homework before heading to her polling place in Montgomery County.

“My husband and I studied … ‘Are we 4th or 5th District?’ And then we finally decided we were 5th, and we got here,” she said, to find out they were exactly right.

Katzman said she was excited to see so many candidates are women.

Among several contested primaries in Philadelphia’s suburbs, the 5th District race features 10 Democrats vying for the party nomination to represent the district consisting largely of Delaware County and a slice of Philadelphia.

Lower Merion voter Diane Kerekes said she found a lot of options on her ballot.

“I wasn’t ‘out with the old, in with the new,’ I just looked at who reflected my views the most,” she said.

Kerekes was a bit confused at first about what her new congressional district would be, but she said a little research sorted that out quickly.

One of the fiercest primaries was a three-way gubernatorial contest for the GOP nomination to take on Democratic incumbent Tom Wolf in November.

Frederick Keffer, a Republican voter in Swarthmore, said voting was easy for him, and he chose businessman Paul Mango.

“I was a little upset with the nastiness of the race,” Keffer said. “So I tended to go with the fella that was less mean, you might say.”

Mango’s military background was another reason Keffer selected him.

Mango is competing with state Sen. Scott Wagner and attorney Laura Ellsworth for the GOP nomination.

Civic duty

In Langhorne, Bucks County, Ed Melandra said he showed up more out of civic duty than to support a particular candidate.

On his Democratic primary ballot, he said he was happily surprised to see many new names. “I see a lot of young women are getting involved, which I think our government needs, not only on the state level but the national level. I want to see more women getting involved in politics, I really do,” he said.

At the same polling place, Howard Marsh voted in the Republican primary. Marsh said he wouldn’t think of skipping an election day.

“I have the right to vote, and I am going to use it and I vote in every single election, including when I worked in Atlantic City, driving up here to vote, and back on the same day,” he said.

That was a 170-mile roundtrip to vote back when he was working in Atlantic City.

The primary election this year has many new candidates entering politics for the first time, spurred by national elections and redrawn congressional districts in Pennsylvania.

In South Media, Delaware County, poll worker Barbara Burgerlentz said voter turnout was a bit light, but she expects more in November.

“Today, you’re just voting on what Democrat will then run against the Republican in the fall. So if you’re really interested in changing what’s going on in Washington, today is theoretically less of a big deal than what’s going on in November,” she said.

Delaware County is hosting one of the most crowded congressional primaries.  Ten Democrats are vying for the nomination in a district that covers the county plus a little part of Philadelphia.

It’s also one of the districts where the incumbent has decided not to run for another term.

Two Republicans and one Democrat in the Philadelphia area chose not to run again.

Haley Digiacingo came to the polls early Tuesday in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood to vote for progressive candidates, but didn’t find viable choices.

“Scarce, I think. Not enough,” she said. “It’s a start, voting in local elections and getting people in local office with new ideas, fresh ideas.”

Rochelle Wilkinson, who is registered independent, didn’t realize that meant she couldn’t cast a primary ballot under Pennsylvania law.

“Because I’m neither registered as a Democrat or Republican, the only thing I could vote for were the [ballot] questions. But, why did I vote today? I wanted Tom Wolf to be governor again. But I didn’t have the opportunity to vote for him,” Wilkinson said.

She said she should have done more research about new boundaries for congressional districts.

John Misczak, who said he hasn’t missed a primary election in 12 years, said the newly redrawn districts did not complicate matters for him.

“I’d seen stories of the new districts, and there were a lot of mailers and campaign info out there about who was running. I thought there was a lot of info out there to make a decision,” he said.

You can find your polling place at the Pennsylvania Department of State website.

Polls will close at 8 p.m.

Here is a look at what you need to know about today’s election.

WHYY.org will have the results tonight as they come in.

Jump to:

 

1st congressional district

Bucks and small part of Montgomery County

Democrats

Steve Bacher
(Bacher campaign website)

Steve Bacher

  • Newtown
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Higher education as well as the nonprofit and government sectors.
    • Served at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Under Pres. Clinton
  • Platform:
    • Supports living wage legislation
    • Infrastructure spending
    • Investing in renewable energy jobs.

 

(campaign website)

Rachel Reddick

  • Doylestown
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Attorney
    • Navy Veteran
  • Platform:
    • End to gun violence
    • Fighting sexual assault
    • Protecting the environment.

 

Scott Wallace, candidate for the Democratic nomination in the newly-drawn 1st Congressional District, at a candidate forum in Newtown, Pa. on Tuesday evening.
(Bastiaan Slabbers for WHYY)

Scott Wallace

  • Buckingham
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Co-chair of the Wallace Global Foundation, named after his great-grandfather who was vice president Henry A. Wallace.
    • Counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
    • Served as the general counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs
  • Platform:
    • Battling climate change
    • Government reform

 

Republicans

US Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania's 8th district talks to a crowd of constituents during a town hall in Bensalem, PA August 22nd 2017.
(Emily Cohen for WHYY)

Brian K. Fitzpatrick

  • Levittown
  • Incumbent – elected in 2016 under what was the 8th district
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Licensed accountant, EMT and attorney.
    • Special Assistant U.S. Attorney
    • FBI Supervisory Special Agent
    • National Director for the FBI’s Campaign Finance and Election Crimes Enforcement Program National supervisor for the FBI’s Political Corruption Unit
    • U.S. Representative since Jan, 2017
  • Platform:
    • Co-authored bill cracking down on cyberstalking
    • Supporting children of emergency first responders
    • Dealing with the opioid crisis
    • You can check his voting record here.

 

Dean Malik
(Emma Lee/WHYY)

Dean Malik (R)

  • Newtown
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Marine Corps officer
    • Former Bucks County prosecutor
    • Attorney in private practice
  • Platform:
    • Strong 2nd Amendment supporter
    • Strong Trump supporter
    • Supports stringent immigration laws (defund DACA, secure border, abolish amnesty)

 

2nd congressional district

Portions of Philadelphia: Northeast, river wards, North (east of Broad Street)

Democrats

Rep. Brendan Boyle, D-Pa.,
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Brendan Boyle

  • Philadelphia
  • Campaign site
  • Incumbent – elected in 2014 to former 13 District
  • Work Experience:
    • Adjunct professor at Drexel University’s Graduate School of Public Policy
    • Elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2008 (first Democrat to represent Pennsylvania’s former 170th state legislative district)
    • In 2014, elected for the former 13th Congressional District, representing Northeast Philadelphia, part of North Philadelphia, and approximately half of Montgomery County)
  • Platform:
    • Student loan availability
    • Job creation for the working class
    • Here are his latest votes.

 

Michele Lawrence
(campaign website)

Michele Lawrence

  • Philadelphia
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Banking; Area President and Senior Vice President for Wells Fargo
    • Chief Executive Officer of MicheleSpeaks, LLC
    • Hosts the “Michele Speaks” radio program
    • Board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters Independence Region, Dare to Imagine Church and the Urban League of Philadelphia
  • Platform:
    • Political reform
    • Business development
    • Education

 

Republicans

David Torres

  • Philadelphia
  • Running unopposed

 

3rd congressional district

Portions of Philadelphia: West, Northwest, and Center City

Democrats

State Rep. Dwight Evans
(Emma Lee/WHYY)

Dwight Evans

  • Philadelphia
  • Campaign site
  • Incumbent in former 2nd District – elected to Congress 2016
  • Work Experience:
    • Teacher in the School District of Philadelphia
    • Job developer for the Urban League of Philadelphia
    • 36 year legislator in Pa. State House
  • Platform:
    • Ending poverty
    • Ending hunger in the city
    • Urban renewal and growth

 

Kevin Johnson
(campaign website)

Kevin Johnson

  • Philadelphia
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Founding pastor of Dare to Imagine Church in Mt. Airy
    • President and CEO of the workforce development organization Philadelphia OIC
  • Platform:
    • Addressing poverty
    • Income inequality
    • Funding public schools
    • Early childhood education
    • Student loans

 

Republicans

Bryan Leib
(campaign Facebook page)

Bryan Leib

  • Philadelphia
  • Running unopposed
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Treasurer Philadelphia Young Republicans
  • Platform:
    • US support for Israel
    • Education reform
    • Veterans rights

 

4th congressional district

Most of Montgomery County, parts of Berks County

Democrats

Madeleine Dean is running for the new PA 4th Congressional district.
(Emily Cohen for WHYY)

Madeleine Dean

  • Glenside
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Attorney
    • Executive director Philadelphia Trial Lawyers
    • Assistant professor in the English Department at La Salle University
    • Member of Governor’s Pennsylvania Commission for Women
    • Elected to the Pa. State House in 2012
  • Platform:
    • Supports strong gun control
    • Fighting the opioid crisis

 

Cease Fire PA Executive Director Shira Goodman is running for a Congressional seat representing Montgomery County.
(Emma Lee/WHYY)

Shira Goodman

  • Abington
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Executive Director of CeaseFirePA
    • Member of Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and the National Young Leadership Cabinet of Jewish Federation of North America
  • Platform:
    • Gun violence prevention
    • Abortion rights
    • Anti-discrimination/sexism legislation
    • Preserving DREAMERS legislation

 

Joe Hoeffel is running for the new PA 4th Congressional district.
(Emily Cohen for WHYY)

Joseph Hoeffel

  • Abington
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Served in US Congress from 1999 to 2005
    • Also served as state legislator and Montgomery County Commissioner
    • Unsuccessful run for Pennsylvania governor in 2010
  • Platform:
    • Education funding
    • Protecting abortion rights legislation
    • Protecting LGBT rights
    • Strengthening organized labor

 

Republicans

Dan David campaign site
(campaign website)

Daniel David

  • Alburtis
  • Campaign site
  • Running unopposed
  • Work Experience:
    • Businessman
    • Co-founded GeoInvesting, an equities markets research firm regarded as a leader in the U.S. micro-cap and China sectors
  • Platform:
    • Protecting retirement and savings for American investors

 

5th Congressional District

Delaware County, South and Southwest Philadelphia, parts of Montgomery County

Democrats

Larry Arata
(campaign website)

Lawrence Arata III

  • Haverford
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Former software salesman
    • Philadelphia public school teacher
    • Union member
    • Founded Citizens for Good Government
  • Platform:
    • Opioid crisis
    • Education
    • Environment
    • Gun control
    • Right to choose

 

Margo Davidson
(campaign website)

Margo Davidson

  • Upper Darby
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Broadcast journalist
    • Ordained minister
    • Started a nonprofit called Anti -Drug & Alcohol Crusaders (ADAC)
    • Founded the African American Female Entrepreneurs’ Alliance
    • Elected as a Pa.state representative in 2010
  • Platform:
    • Drug treatment legislation
    • Small business growth
    • Economic & social justice

 

Thaddeus Kirkland is one of the 14 Democratic candidates running for Congress in the 5th Congressional district.
(Emily Cohen for WHYY)

Thaddeus Kirkland

  • Chester
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Mayor of Chester since 2016
    • State representative for the 159th district for 24 years
    • Member of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus
    • Democratic chairman of the House Tourism and Recreational Committee
  • Platform:
    • Gun control
    • Livable minimum wage
    • Infrastructure spending
    • Education reform
    • Veterans affairs

 

Richard Lazer is one of the 14 Democratic candidates running for Congress in the 5th Congressional district.
(Emily Cohen for WHYY)

Rich Lazer

  • Philadelphia
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Served as Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Labor
    • Aide to now-Mayor Jim Kenney when he was in City Council
  • Platform:
    • Education
    • Healthcare
    • Criminal justice reform
    • Gun control

 

Lindy Li
(campaign website)

Lindy Li

  • Philadelphia
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Financial analyst at Morgan Stanley
    • Cancer research advocate at Trustee of the American Association for Cancer Research
    • Founder of the nationwide “Do It in the Dark” campaign, which seeks to use competition to encourage college students to reduce their energy consumption, while also saving money
    • Serves as the Women’s Co-Chair and Mid-Atlantic Regional Chair at the Democratic National Committee
  • Platform:
    • Higher minimum wage
    • Middle class job development
    • Women’s issues
    • Debt-free college
    • Clean water legislation

 

Ashley Lunkenheimer is running for the new PA 5th District congressional seat.
(Emily Cohen for WHYY)

Ashley Lunkenheimer

  • Media
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Federal prosecutor in Eastern Pa.
    • Senior Counsel at AmeriHealth Caritas
  • Platform:
    • Criminal justice reform
    • Universal Pre-K
    • Increasing diversity

 

Mary Gay Scanlon, running to represent the newly redrawn 5th Congressional District, gets the endorsement of former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell.
(Emma Le/WHYY)

Mary Gay Scanlon

  • Swarthmore
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Pro-bono counsel at Ballard Spahr, 2003- present
    • Volunteer attorney or board member since 1985 at Support Center for Child Advocates co-chair of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Commission on Children at Risk
    • Wallingford Swarthmore School Board, 2007-2015; served as board president & vice president
    • Attorney for the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania, 1992-2001
  • Platform:
    • Education
    • Voting rights
    • Immigration reform
    • Reducing gun violence
    • Criminal justice reform
    • LGBT rights
    • Healthcare
    • Environment

 

Molly Sheehan
(Emily Cohen for WHYY)

Molly Sheehan

  • Philadelphia
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Scientist
    • Earned PhD in biochemistry and biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Platform:
    • Lower healthcare costs
    • Increasing minimum wage
    • Battling climate change
    • Repeal Citizens United
    • Universal pre-K

 

Greg Vitali
(campaign website)

Gregory Vitali

  • Havertown
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Lawyer
    • Served for 24 years on the Pa. House Environmental Resource and Energy Committee — four as Democratic Chairman
    • First Democrat ever elected to the 166th Legislative District of Pennsylvania in 1999, reelected 12 times
  • Platform:
    • Brick and mortar public school spending
    • Women’s rights
    • Sensible gun control legislation

 

Theresa M. Wright
(campaign Facebook page)

Theresa Wright

  • Norristown
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Entrepreneur
    • Accountant
    • Started many nonprofits including Dare to Compare program
  • Platform:
    • Education funding
    • Poverty
    • Homelessness
    • Urban renewal
    • Supporting working mothers and teen moms

 

Republicans

Pearl Kim
(campaign website)

Pearl Kim

  • Radnor
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Senior deputy attorney general of Pennsylvania
    • Past assistant district attorney for Delaware County
  • Platform:
    • Crime victims rights
    • Immigration rights and reform
    • Community Service

 

6th Congressional District

Chester County, parts of Berks County

Democrats

Democratic candidate for Pa-6 Congressional District Chrissy Houlahan.
(Provided)

Chrissy Houlahan

  • Devon
  • Running unopposed
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Founded B-Lab – a nonprofit that promotes B Corporations and good business practices
      Chemistry teacher in North Philadelphia and was a Teach for America Corps member
    • Served as President and COO/CFO for Springboard Collaborative, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit focused on improving early childhood literacy in underserved communities country-wide
    • Captain, US Air Force; 3 years Active and 13 years Inactive Reserve
  • Platform:
    • Affordable healthcare
    • Better public schools
    • Economic growth
    • Combating climate change
    • Stronger campaign finance regulations
    • Veteran affairs
    • Women’s health initiatives

 

Republicans

Greg McCauley
(campaign website)

Greg McCauley

  • Chadds Ford
  • Work Experience:
    • Owned and operated up to nine Wendy’s restaurants for over twenty years
    • Clerked for James McGirr Kelly in the Eastern District of PA
    • Associate attorney at Blank, Rome, Comisky & McCauley
    • Opened private practice in 1987
  • Platform:
    • Job creation and wage growth
    • Maintaining and supporting social security

 

Governor

Republicans

Laura Ellsworth, a lawyer from suburban Pittsburgh and a first-time candidate, answers questions from the panel during a debate between Republican Gubernatorial candidates at Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, Pa., Thursday, March 1, 2018.
(AP Photo/Chris Knight)

Laura Ellsworth

  • Pittsburgh
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Partner at Jones Day international law firm
    • Served on civic organizations, including the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board, the Pennsylvania Economy League of Western Pennsylvania, and the United Way Women’s Leadership Council.
    • Co-chaired the federal judicial selection committee for the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
  • Platform:
    • Job creation in the private sector
    • Improving pension funding
    • Creation of a Council on Economic Development and a Governor’s Outreach team
    • Campaign finance contribution limits
    • “Right to Work” without having to pay money to a union
    • Growing the energy sector
    • Pre-K education for any family that wants it
    • Reducing higher education costs
    • Restrictive abortion laws
    • Veterans affairs

 

Paul Mango
(Emma Lee/WHYY)

Paul Mango

  • Pittsburgh
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Health care consultant for the international firm McKinsey & Company for 28 years, leaving the firm as a Partner.
    • Served in the 82nd Airborne Division of the Army for five years.
  • Platform:
    • Job creation and growing wages
    • Cutting taxes and specifically lowering corporate taxes
    • Fix the state pension system
    • Improving healthcare
    • Anti-abortion and wants to defund Planned Parenthood
    • Enforcing existing gun laws
    • End Sanctuary Cities
    • Dealing with the opioid epidemic
    • Veterans affairs

 

Scott Wagner
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Scott Wagner

  • York
  • Campaign site
  • Work Experience:
    • Member of the Pennsylvania State Senate District 28 since 2014
    • First write-in candidate to win an election to the State Senate.
    • Owns a waste management business called Penn Waste and the trucking company, KBS Trucking.
  • Platform:
    • Strict limit on Harrisburg’s powers to tax and spend
    • Improve Pennsylvania’s public education system
    • Change the “culture of corruption” in Harrisburg, ban former lawmakers from lobbying
    • Anti-abortion
    • Rejects climate change

 

Lieutenant Governor

Democrats

Nina Ahmad
(Emma Lee/WHYY)

Nina Ahmad

 

Kathi Cozzone
(campaign website)

Kathleen Cozzone

 

John Fetterman, the mayor of Braddock, Pa. addresses a crowd on the roof of his home during his announcement that he is running for the U.S. Senate on Monday, Sept. 14, 2015 in Braddock, Pa.
(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

John Fetterman

 

Ray Sosa
(campaign website)

Raymond Sosa

 

(AP Photo/Chris Knight)

Michael Stack

 

Republicans

Jeff Bartos
(campaign website)

Jeff Bartos

 

Kathy Coder
(campaign website)

Kathleen Ann Coder

 

Peg Luksik
(campaign website)

Peg Luksik

 

Diana Vaughan
(campaign website)

Diana Vaughan

 

Other resources

 

Danielle Fox contributed to this report.

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