Delco congressional challenger gets national attention

     Pastor Bill Golderer is running for the 7th District Congressional seat in Delaware County. (Photo via Twitter)

    Pastor Bill Golderer is running for the 7th District Congressional seat in Delaware County. (Photo via Twitter)

    Bill Golderer, the pastor who’s running for the 7th Congressional District seat in Delaware County has earned a spot on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s short list of candidates who are “on track and working hard to put seats in play.”

    The seat has been held by Republican U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan since 2010.

    The DCCC yesterday unveiled its “Red to Blue” list of candidates that it’s encouraging national donors to support in hopes of capturing seats now held by Republicans. Golder made the list, or at list an extension of it.

    Perhaps the most interesting thing about this development  is that some national Democrats think the 7th district might actually be winnable  this year. The  district was held by a Democrat, Joe Sestak until he left in 2010, when Meehan won it.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    After that, the  Republican-controlled Pennsylvania legislature re-drew the boundaries, giving it a bizzare shape that you can see in a Wasington Post piece on the nation’s most gerrymandered Congressional districts. After the re-districting, Meehan handily dispatched a bunch of Democratic challengers.

    Golderer’s isn’t among the 21 campaigns the DCCC gave its full Red to Blue designation, but his is among 10  “emerging” contests that show encouraging developments for the Democrats.

    In a statement, DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Lujan said Golderer’s “background and record of success has earned the respect of many in his community and he represents the exact type of new leadership needed in Washington.”

    Golderer isn’t the only Democrat in the race.  La Salle University professor Mary Ellen Balchunis is also running and has won the support of the Delaware, Montgomery, and Chester County Democratic organizations.

    The race is still seen as an uphill battle for Democrats, but the party’s prospects are probably better in a presidential election year, when more Democrats vote than in off-year contests.

    Larry Sabato, the University of Virginia political science professor who handicaps congressional races,  has changed the district’s ranking from “safe Republican” to “leans Republican.”

    To no one’s surprise, the battle for the 8th Congressional District in Bucks County has made the DCCC’s Red to Blue list. The seat is being vacated by Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, and it’s been competitive for many years.

    The DCCC hasn’t made a pick between the two Democratic candidates in that contest, State Rep. Steve Santarsiero and businesswoman Shaughnessy Naughton.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal