Pennsylvania currently has no women serving in the U.S. Congress, but that could soon change following a strong performance from women candidates in yesterday’s primary race, many of whom have a good chance at winning their general elections.
On Tuesday, Pennsylvania women won 7 of the 18 Democratic primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives, including in the hotly contested, newly redrawn 7th district where feminist candidate Susan Wild ended three points ahead of pro-Trump, anti-abortion candidate John Morganelli.
Susan Wild, who is endorsed by the Feminist Majority, is a lawyer who became the first woman to serve as Solicitor of the City of Allentown, and is an unequivocal advocate for women and reproductive rights. For years, the district that included Allentown was represented by Republican Charlie Dent, who announced his resignation from Congress only a few weeks ago. Considering that 7th district Democrats turned out almost 14,000 more voters than Republicans yesterday, it is clear that Wild has a very strong chance at the seat.
Political pundits are also expecting Democrats to pick up a seat in Pennsylvania’s new 6th district, where feminist candidate Chrissy Houlahan ran uncontested in yesterday’s race. Houlahan, also endorsed by the Feminist Majority, has worn many hats, as a member of the armed services, as a teacher, and as the COO of a major business that guaranteed health insurance for all of its employees.
These new toss up districts are a result of the newly redrawn congressional map, which was ordered after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the state’s congressional districts violated the state Constitution by unfairly benefitting the GOP. Republican leaders filed an emergency appeal asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hold that redrawing order, which the Justices then rejected.
Since Republicans drew the congressional map in 2011, the GOP has held 13 of the state’s 18 seats in the House of Representatives, despite the fact that Democrats have almost 800,000 more registered voters than Republicans. Democrats are hoping the new map could help the party pick up as many as half a dozen seats in 2018.
Yesterday’s primary elections also saw a massive victory for Oregon Governor Kate Brown, endorsed by the Feminist Majority, who won the Democratic primary with an overwhelming 82.7 percent of the vote and turned out over 50,000 more Democratic voters than the Republicans. In 2016, Brown became the first ever openly LGBTQ person to be elected governor in the United States. Since then, she has passed legislation to make it easier for transgender Oregonians to make changes to their birth certificates, and made Oregon the first state to ensure no-cost abortion, birth control and pre-natal healthcare to all residents, including undocumented immigrants, gender non-conforming people, and transgender individuals.
Media Resources: New York Times 5/16/18; Feminist Newswire 2/6/18, 11/11/18, 6/5/17, 8/21/18; Vox 5/15/18