WASHINGTON — After last month’s primary elections, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is announcing its first slate of Pennsylvania Spotlight candidates. During the primaries, Democrats outvoted Republicans by almost 500,000 votes, a clear sign of Democratic strength in one of 2020’s most important swing states. Republicans are scrambling to defend their fragile majorities and Democrats are ready to capitalize on grassroots enthusiasm and momentum in the Keystone State.
“Our lineup of Spotlight candidates in Pennsylvania is prepared to build off of our victories in 2018,” said DLCC President Jessica Post. “These candidates are community leaders, small business owners, and veterans who are determined to continue fighting for their communities in Harrisburg. We’re excited to work with these fantastic candidates to flip both chambers blue and give Pennsylvanians the leadership they deserve.”
The GOP’s hold on the Keystone State continues to loosen. In Pennsylvania, Vice President Joe Biden is polling ahead of President Donald Trump. The Republican Majority has fought Gov. Tom Wolf tooth-and-nail as he works with Democratic lawmakers to safely guide PA through the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the two top state Republicans have called it quits. Mike Turzai, the former GOP Speaker, resigned early and GOP Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati will not seek re-election. It’s clear that the Pennsylvania GOP is in retreat and Democrats are ready to take charge in Harrisburg.
The first slate of Pennsylvania Spotlight candidates include 8 for the Senate and 19 for the House. Among the 27 candidates are 8 Democratic incumbents vying for re-election. The Democrats need to flip 4 seats to take control of the Senate for the first time since 1993. To turn the House blue for the first time since 2010, the Democrats need to flip 9 seats.
- John Kane (SD-09), a plumber for more than 40 years who has spent his life fighting for working people and is ready to continue that work in the state Senate.
- Sen. Judy Schwank (SD-11), is running for reelection to continue her mission of bringing effective and energetic leadership for her community.
- Janet Diaz (SD-13), a small business advocate who is determined to fight for the people of Lancaster in the state capitol.
- George Scott (SD-15), a two-decade combat veteran who is now continuing that lifelong call to service by flipping a GOP-held state Senate seat.
- Sen. Pam Iovino (SD-37), a Navy veteran who won a major special election victory by flipping this Trump-won seat from red to blue last year. She’s running again to continue fighting for the people in her community.
- Sen. James “Jim” Brewster (SD-45), a lifelong public advocate and former mayor of McKeesport who has earned the support and trust of his constituents and is eager to continue fighting for them in the legislature.
- Julie Slomski (SD-49), a long-time public servant who has helped drive policy and investments that benefited the people of Erie — and she is now ready to use that expertise in the state Senate.
- Emily Skopov (HD-28), a small business owner and founder of an education non-profit, No Crayon Left Behind, who is running to provide sensible solutions for the problems that hard-working Pennsylvanians face every day.
- Marlene Katz (HD-29), a longtime small business owner who is ready to lead on important issues — protecting the environment, solving the opioid crisis, reforming the tax code — and bring Pennsylvanians much-needed progress.
- Rep. Frank Dermody (HD-33), is the House Democratic Whip and has dedicated his career to moving Pennsylvania forward since being elected in 1990, and he’s not stopping yet.
- Nick Pisciottano (HD-38), the President of the West Mifflin Community Foundation who is running to provide his community with the resources they need to build a brighter future.
- Michele Knoll (HD-44), an educator, advocate, and small business owner who is working to implement common sense policies that will elevate and create a better tomorrow for hard-working Pennsylvanians.
- Rep. Pam Snyder (HD-50), has fought for her community by protecting jobs and creating a fair tax system, and is ready to bring her rational voice back to Harrisburg and continue defending Pennsylvania values.
- Steve Malagari (HD-53), a member of Lansdale Borough Council and a lifelong Pennsylvanian who is running to fight for working families.
- Brittney Rodas (HD-105), policy analyst in the state legislature who has spent years crafting solutions for Pennsylvanians and is running to fight for policies that put working families first.
- Lindsay Drew (HD-106), a small business owner and philanthropist who is determined to bring change to Pennsylvania by focusing on issues like combating racism, providing quality education, and ensuring access to affordable health care.
- Rep. Gerald Mullery (HD-119), a longtime legislator who has led with professionalism, determination, and passion while fighting for issues that are most important for the district.
- Joanna Bryn Smith (HD-120), a public defender and Luzerne native who is ready to put her passion and experience into working for her district in the state legislature.
- Kevin Branco (HD-131), a fourth-generation small business owner and organizer in his community who is focused on reinvesting in the public education system, growing the local economy, and reinvigorating small businesses.
- Rep. Wendy Ullman (HD-143), an experienced legislator and educator who has channeled her experiences with students to connect, listen, and collaborate with people from all walks of life and is running for re-election to continue forging a brighter future for all Pennsylvanians.
- Gary Spillane (HD-144), a small business owner, and community leader who is geared up to take on a new challenge: Moving Pennsylvania forward by fighting for affordable health care, protecting the environment, and ensuring quality education.
- Rep. Joe Ciresi (HD-146), the president of the non-profit Petra Community Housing who learned to translate the values he grew up with into becoming an advocate for others and is determined to win so he can continue fighting for the community he loves in the House.
- Jonathan Kassa (HD-151), small business owner, school board director, and community volunteer who is ready to bring his innovative solutions to Harrisburg and deliver the results the Pennsylvanians need.
- Nancy Guenst (HD-152), a veteran and community leader who is prepared to flip this district blue for the first time in history after witnessing the destruction of GOP-led gridlock in Harrisburg.
- Rep. Jennifer O’Mara (HD-165), the first Democrat to represent her district in four decades who understands the need for accessible and equitable public service and is fighting to break the gridlock and ensure the state house works for Pennsylvanians.
- Claudette Williams (HD-176), an Army veteran with more than 30 years of service who is prepared to continue serving and fighting for residents of Monroe County by taking on disruptive special interests that block Pennsylvanians from progress.
- Ann Marie Mitchell (HD-178), an experienced business attorney with strong ties to her community who understands the importance of quality education, good paying jobs, and breaking the cycle of generational poverty and is ready to make her case for a modern, revitalized Pennsylvania.
Both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly are top targets in the DLCC’s $50 million Flip Everything campaign to win legislative majorities across the country this year. Since Trump’s election, the DLCC and state Democrats have flipped more than 450 seats and 10 legislative chambers from red to blue.