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Scott Perry faces Democratic challenger

What we’re watching in the Pennsylvania primary

Voters in Pennsylvania head to the polls today to choose their candidates in several closely watched primary contests. Here’s what we’re keeping an eye on:

PA-10: Which Democrat will take on Scott Perry?

Democrats are fixated on unseating former Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry (R-Pa.). It’s a rare seat that’s both competitive and features a favored punching bag of the left. The two main contenders are former news anchor Janelle Stelson and Mike O’Brien, a retired Marine officer.

Stelson has the backing of the New Dem Coalition’s campaign arm and has gotten some early donations from Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Nikki Budzinski (D-Ill.). We reported these details on Monday.

Meanwhile, O’Brien is endorsed by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and former Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.).

This is the first cycle Democrats really believe they have a chance at defeating Perry due to the political climate and his fundraising vulnerabilities. We’ll note though that Perry has improved his margins in every general election since 2018. This district is R+4.

PA-12: Can Summer Lee survive a pro-Israel challenge?

Freshman Rep. Summer Lee (D-Pa.), a new addition to the Squad, attracted a center-left challenge from Bhavini Patel in Pennsylvania’s 12th District.

Lee’s opposition to Israel funding and connections with antisemitic speakers have angered pro-Israel members of her Pittsburgh-area district. Patel is benefiting from spending from pro-Israel donors, but Lee has slammed her opponent for receiving support from PACs linked to GOP mega-donors.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) campaigned for Lee in Pittsburgh over the weekend.

PA-01: Does a far-right challenger have any chance against Brian Fitzpatrick?

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) is facing conservative activist Mark Houck, who we previously wrote about here.

Houck has taken a hardline stance on abortion and has accused Fitzpatrick of not being conservative enough for Republican voters.

Houck has name-dropped several House conservatives as having supported him, including then-Rep. Mike Johnson, House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Perry.

But Houck walked back some of those claims after several members said they had only limited conversations with the candidate.

The winner of the GOP primary will go on to face Democrat Ashley Ehasz, a U.S. Army veteran who lost to Fitzpatrick by about 10 points last cycle.

The Cook Political Report has Pennsylvania’s 1st District’s PVI as being even, which would give Ehasz a huge advantage in the general if Houck wins.

We’ll note Fitzpatrick has a hefty fundraising advantage, and he just got a boost from the Congressional Leadership Fund, too.

— Mica Soellner and Max Cohen

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Editorial photos provided by Getty Images. Political ads courtesy of AdImpact.