PA-16: Do Democrats Have A Chance?

PA-16Congressman Joe Pitts surprised the political world today when he announced he won’t be running for re-election next year.

Pitts has represented the 16th district since 1997, so the question now becomes, with Pitts gone do the Democrats have a chance at the seat?

At first glance the answer would appear to be no. Pitts survived the Democratic wave elections of 2006 and 2008 rather easily (he won by 56.6%-39.6% and 55.8%-39.4% margins respectively). Pitts’ lowest percentage came in 2012 when he pulled in 55%.

He won’t be on the ballot this time, however, and the Reading district has been more competitive when it comes to presidential elections. After heavily supporting George W. Bush in 2004 (61% to 38%), the 2008 (51% to 48%) and 2012 (52.4% to 46.3%) elections were much closer even with McCain and Romney both prevailing.

In fact, Kyle Kondik of Sabato’s Crystal Ball announced that he was already moving the seat from “Safe R” to “Likely R”.

Christopher Nicholas, Political Director of the PA Business Council, also believes it could be a competitive race.

“PA-16 is almost as likely to switch parties next year as PA-8 as the trends in the 16th are moving in the Democrats’ direction,” he told PoliticsPA.

Nevertheless, Republicans don’t seem too worried. The district is still R+4 while PA-8 is only R+1.

Democrats will have the advantage that it is a presidential election and they already have a candidate in Christina Hartman who is winning over party support. Additionally, if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic presidential nominee it wouldn’t hurt to have another female candidate on the ticket.

Nevertheless, Hartman’s fundraising (at least for now) is not very impressive and Republicans privately believe Lancaster County Commissioner Scott Martin will get into the race and be a strong GOP nominee.

The 16th district includes parts of Berks, Chester and Lancaster County as well as the city of Reading.

November 6th, 2015 | Posted in Congress, Front Page Stories, Top Stories | 15 Comments

15 thoughts on “PA-16: Do Democrats Have A Chance?”

  1. tj says:

    BECAUSE WGAL ONLY REPORTS ON REPUBLICANS RUNNING TO REPLACE JOE PITTS WGAL MAKES IT SEEM TO ALL VIEWERS THAT THREE IS NO DEMOCRAT RUNNING—JUST NOW 6:20 AM 4/6/16…..AND THEY ONLY STORIED ONE REPUBLICAN. WE ALL NEED TO KNOW THAT WGAL IS JUST A TOOL USED TO GIVE AIR TIME FOR FREE TO THOSE CANDIDATES THE OWNERS OF WGAL WISH TO BACK.

  2. HaHaHa says:

    GULAG – FRANK FINA ALSO BELIEVES WOMEN BELONG AT HOME …

  3. bobguzzardi says:

    Do not underestimate the degree of discontent of the grassroots with Val DiGiorgio Establishment network of cronies. Two of the five Democratic appellate candidates won in ChesCo: IBEW 98 financed Kevin Dougherty and Christine Donohue. Union influence in ChesCo Republican party is surprisingly strong. Like Pat Toomey and Gleason Asher run state party, Val DiGiorgio has alienated the conservative grass roots who are becoming more and more disaffected from the Republican Party. The grassroots is strongest in the southern part of the county and in the PA 16.

  4. GOPaJoke says:

    The GOP is a joke. People that just vote party lines are fools that play a part in the cities in PA being a joke.

  5. PhillyPolitico says:

    Does this article take into account that PA-16 was pretty drastically affected by the 2010 redistricting?

  6. Observer #2 says:

    Reading City has nil effect on elections. The City does not turnout and vote. On Tuesday, according to a news article, the city of Reading had a 22% turnout, while the county had a 26% turnout. And this was in the middle of a hot election for Mayor of Reading. While Philadelphia also had a low turnout according to the article, the sheer numbers in Phila. have an impact. Lancaster City and Reading City and many 3rd class cities–forget it. The voters are in the suburbs and small towns. Even in a presidential year. This district is a safe Republican district–put your resources and energy elsewhere.

  7. Barricks Einwohner says:

    Reading has been pretty much neutralized through gerrymandering. A Dem can win the Berks part of the district and lose the race in Lancaster County.

  8. Observer says:

    Sabato? Isn’t he the genius who rates PA a “Lean R” for the senate seat? Lolol…. Toomey loses to ANY Dem by twenty points, when the real election comes around. Or didn’t they see the Supreme Court results? I wouldn’t listen to a thing they say…

  9. Senator Rutherford B. Cattywampus says:

    Surprised the political world? What world is that? No one was surprised by this. And…if you’re surprised, you’re not in the “political world.”

  10. LancasterGuy says:

    If you think this was either a surprise or anything but a very likely GOP seat, then you are too out of touch to comment on this matter,

  11. Lancaster PA says:

    The only reason why this seat is even being discussed is it now includes Reading. Lancaster county is solidly Republican. As Lancaster Resident stated. This is a safe Republican. Its more like R+10

  12. Alex says:

    “Surprised the political world” Nick further proof you have no idea what you are talking about.

  13. Speak the truth says:

    Smucker is an excellent statesman. has done a great job as chair of senate education committee.

  14. Lancaster Resident says:

    The 16th is a “Safe Republican” seat. It was designed that way as a result of Republican gerrymandering.

    The best hope for Democrats living in the 16th is that Republicans nominate a moderate and a pragmatic like State Sen. Lloyd Smucker as opposed to another Joe Pitts tea-bagger like former County Commissioner Scott Martin.

  15. gulagPittsburgh says:

    I have no problem with a good woman candidate, but those backward Mennonites and Amish there might be offended that she is not being barefoot in the kitchen cooking shoefly pie where they think women belong.

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