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Local News

DLCC names its spotlight candidates for the Pennsylvania General Assembly


John Cole, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
May 24, 2024

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) on Thursday announced the list of Pennsylvania candidates it is endorsing for the general election, where control of the General Assembly hangs in the balance. 

“It’s no exaggeration to say that this is the most important year in state legislative campaign history,” DLCC President Heather Williams said on a call with reporters on Thursday. “Donald Trump’s MAGA agenda is being decided and implemented in the states.”

Williams added that she believes reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, gun safety and democracy are on the ballot this November.

Democrats currently hold 102 seats in the state House, to Republicans’ 101. In the Senate, Republicans hold 28 seats and Democrats have 22. 

Democrats have set their sights on flipping the Senate this cycle. 

The four candidates endorsed by the DLCC — state Reps. Patty Kim (SD-15), Nick Pisciottano (SD-45), and Nicole Ruscitto (SD-37); and Jim Wertz (SD-49) — are battling for seats that Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa has said give the party its best chance at regaining control of the upper chamber. 

“We’ve made gains over the past couple of years, each of the last couple of cycles, and our goal is certainly to continue to be able to do that and grow by three more seats,” Costa said on a call with reporters Thursday.

Of those four seats in the spotlight announcement, three are currently held by Republicans, while one is held by retiring Democratic state Sen. Jim Brewster. 

If Democrats make gains in the chamber, but don’t flip it to a majority, Costa said the party would still consider it a “successful cycle, but it would not be the goal which we have established for ourselves.” He added he believes Democrats can flip the chamber to 25 seats and pick up one or two more seats in 2026. 

In the House, the DLCC endorsed six incumbents – state Reps. Jim Haddock (HD-118), Rob Matzie (HD-16), Brian Munroe (HD-118), Eddie Day Pashinski (HD-121), Mandy Steele (HD-33), and Paul Takac (HD-82).

Haddock, who represents parts of Luzerne and Lackawanna County, is slated to face Republican McKayla Kathio in November. Haddock and Kathio were unopposed for their respective nominations. In 2022, Haddock defeated Republican James May by just under 5 points.

Matzie, who represents parts of Beaver County, will take on Republican Michael Perich for the seat. Neither had a primary challenger. Matzie won by 13 points in his most successful reelection bid in 2022 over Republican Rico Elmore.

Munroe is serving his first term in the legislature after defeating incumbent GOP state Rep. Todd Polinchock in 2022 by just under 2 points. The Bucks County Democrat will go up against Republican Daniel McPhillips in the general election.

Pashinski, who has served in the state House since 2007, is the longest tenured incumbent included among the spotlight candidates. He represents parts of Luzerne County in Northeast Pennsylvania, and defeated Republican challenger Eryn Harvey by just under 9 points in 2022. 

Steele, who represents parts of Allegheny County, is serving in her first term in office after defeating Republican Ted Tomson by nearly 10 points for the open seat in 2022. She’ll be challenged by Republican Gary Lotz in November in her bid for a second term. 

Takac, who represents parts of Centre County, was first elected to office in 2022 after winning the open seat against Republican Justin Behrens by 12 points. He’s being challenged by Republican Therese Hollen in the general election.

“It is our responsibility in this very important year to grow that majority to expand seats, and we believe we can,” said House Majority Leader Matt Bradford (D-Montgomery) on a call with reporters. “We have suburban battleground seats in every corner of Pennsylvania.” 

The Republican State Leadership Committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Capital-Star.

Below is the full list of DLCC spotlight candidates in Pennsylvania, including the non-incumbents running for office. 

  • Rep. Mandy Steele (HD-33)
  • Rep. Jim Haddock (HD-118)
  • Rep. Brian Munroe (HD-144)
  • Rep. Paul Takac (HD-82)
  • Rep. Rob Matzie (HD-16)
  • Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (HD-121)
  • Anna Thomas (HD-137)
  • Anna Payne (HD-142)
  • Sara Agerton (HD-88)
  • Hadley Haas (HD-44)
  • Cristian Luna (HD-13)
  • Bill Petulla (HD-28)
  • Anand Patel (HD-18)
  • Elizabeth Moro (HD-160)
  • John Inglis (HD-38)
  • Rep. Nick Pisciottano (SD-45)
  • Rep. Patty Kim (SD-15)
  • Nicole Ruscitto (SD-37)
  • Jim Wertz (SD-49)

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This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.