Part 3 of 3: General Analysis and PA House of Representatives
By: Carl A. Marrara
October 31, 2022
In 2020, state-wide polling underestimated Republican performance by more than 2%. The potential for higher GOP performance, in what should be a Republican leaning midterm cycle, should make any race polling within 5 points competitive. In gauging enthusiasm, turnout in the midterm primary was unprecedented. 39 percent of registered GOP voters turned out in May, compared to 36 percent of Democrats. In the last midterm primary election (2018) only 22 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats took to the polls, respectively. Voter enthusiasm is up across both political parties, but it is worth noting that more Republicans have been added to PA’s voter rolls (nearly 2-1) within the past year; but registered Democrats still outnumber GOP voters by four points.
This year’s election is an extremely short ballot. Voters will select from four, or at most five candidates, if that voter lives in an even numbered State Senate district. Moreover, Pennsylvanians can no longer select a straight ticket ballot and must vote for each candidate individually. The combination of a short ballot and no option for straight ticket voting could mean more split-tickets than we have ever seen in PA’s electoral history.
How will this impact the PA House of Representative elections?
There are several shifts in the PA House, mainly here in the midstate, where what were once Republican seats with competitive elections now become safe districts for Democrats. These districts (105, 106, 129) don’t even make this watch-list publication. However, there’s an abnormally large number of retiring Democratic lawmakers that have previously survived in GOP-leaning performance districts that Republican’s will expect to win, offsetting some of those loses. These will be close contests, and many are detailed below. The lines of most PA House districts have changed dramatically. To that point, there are 10 incumbents that were completely drawn out of their seats, with most seeking elections in new districts.
Races in Allegheny, Bucks, Lehigh, and all the counties in NEPA and the Lehigh Valley will surely be impacted by major spending in the overlapping contested congressional contests. I expect this will impact PA House races more so than the top-of-the-ticket races for U.S. Senate and Governor.
Here are the top 15 PA House races I will be watching on November 8, 2022:
PA House – Top 15
3 (Erie) – Joe Kujawa (R) v. Ryan Bizzarro (D)*
Registration % - R-42/D-46.5/I-11.5; 2020 Presidential % - Biden 50.5; New territory - 26%
7 (Crawford) – Parke Wentling (R)* v. Timothy McGonigle
Registration % - R-42/D-45.5/I-12.5; 2020 Presidential % - Trump 55.5; New territory - 10%
Former Mark Longietti seat – retiring.
9 (Lawrence) – Marla Gallo Brown (R) v. Chris Sainato (D)*
Registration % - R-47/D-42/I-11; 2020 Presidential % - Trump 63.3; New territory - 9%
16 (Beaver) – Rico Elmore (R) v. Robert Matzie (D)*
Registration % - R-33.5/D-53.5/I-13; 2020 Presidential % - Trump 51.1; New territory - 25%
30 (Allegheny) – Cindy Kirk (R) v. Arvind Venkat (D)
Registration % - R-42/D-43/I-15; 2020 Presidential % - Biden 52.3; New territory - 91%
Former Lori Mizgorski seat – retiring to run to PA Senate.
33 (Allegheny) – Ted Tomson (R) v. Mandy Steele (D)
Registration % - R-36/D-50/I-14; 2020 Presidential % - Biden 51.4; New territory - 46%
Former Carrie DelRosso seat – retiring to run for Lt. Governor.
72 (Cambria) – Renae Billow (R) v. Frank Burns (D)*
Registration % - R-45/D-44.5/I-10.5; 2020 Presidential % - Trump 63.9; New territory - 56%
82 (Centre) – Justin Behrens (R) v. Paul Takac (D)
Registration % - R-42/D-42.5/I-15.5; 2020 Presidential % - Biden 52.2; New territory - 100%
Moved district – Former Jonathan Hershey seat.
118 (Lackawanna/Luzerne) – James May (R) v. James Haddock (D)
Registration % - R-36/D-54/I-10; 2020 Presidential % - Trump 50.9; New territory - 54%
Former Mike Carroll seat – retiring.
119 (Luzerne) – Alec Ryncavage (R) v. Vito Malacari (D)
Registration % - R-39/D-49/I-12; 2020 Presidential % - Trump 56.2; New territory - 36%
Former Gerald Mullery seat – retiring.
142 (Bucks) – Joseph Hogan (R) v. Mark Moffa (D)
Registration % - R-42.5/D-42/I-15.5; 2020 Presidential % - Biden 50.4; New territory - 27%
Former Frank Farry seat – retiring to run for PA Senate.
151 (Montgomery) – Todd Stephens (R)* v. Melissa Cerrato (D)
Registration % - R-36.5/D-44.5/I-16; 2020 Presidential % - Biden 62.1; New territory - 31%
160 (Delaware/Chester) – Craig Williams (R)* v. Catherine Spahr (D)
Registration % - R-49/D-35/I-16; 2020 Presidential % - Biden 52.9; New territory - 45%
168 (Delaware) – Christopher Quinn (R)* v. Lisa Borowski (D)
Registration % - R-42/D-42/I-16; 2020 Presidential % - Biden 61.3; New territory - 48%
189 (Pike/Monroe) – Stephen Ertle (R) v. Tarah Probst (D)
Registration % - R-32/D-48/I-20; 2020 Presidential % - Biden 56.5; New territory - 40%
Former Rosemary Brown seat – retiring to run for PA Senate.
Others to watch – 18, 26, 29, 41, 144
113-R, 88-D, 2-V