GOP primary challenger takes on Meehan in 7th Congressional District

 U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan is facing competition in the April 26 Republican primary election from Stan Casacio, a real estate developer. Two Democrats also are running for their party's nomination to run for the 7th Congressional District seat. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan is facing competition in the April 26 Republican primary election from Stan Casacio, a real estate developer. Two Democrats also are running for their party's nomination to run for the 7th Congressional District seat. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

The race to represent Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District — which covers portions of five of Philadelphia’s suburban counties — is heating up.

Republican U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan, who’s running for a fourth term, now finds himself with a primary challenger.

Montgomery County businessman Stan Casacio is running to unseat Meehan in the oddly drawn district, which includes most of Delaware County, as well as parts of Montgomery, Chester, Berks and Lancaster counties.

Casacio’s message is simple — he doesn’t think Meehan is conservative enough, and he’s offering himself as a choice for voters leaning further to the right.

“Pat is a Republican in name only,” he said.

Casacio’s platform involves repealing the Affordable Care Act and scaling back regulations in order to benefit businesses, although he couldn’t say exactly what reforms he wants to make. He is confident that his business experience as a real estate developer and owner of a construction company will make him attractive to district voters, although he admitted it will be hard to run against Meehan, who has wider name recognition. 

“It is difficult to overcome that, but yet, over the last three, four weeks that I’ve been going out meeting people, there are a lot of people who are very frustrated with Pat Meehan and his positions,” he said.

Casacio, who now lives in Whitemarsh, has served previously as a township commissioner in Cheltenham.

Two Democrats — La Salle University political science professor Mary Ellen Balchunis and the Rev. Bill Golderer, founder of Philadelphia’s Broad Street Ministry — also are seeking their party’s nomination.

The primary is on April 26.

Note: This is a corrected version of this story, which originally stated Mary Ellen Balchunis is a professor at St. Joseph’s Universty. Balchunis teaches at La Salle University. 

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