A surprising and intriguing development has occurred in the race for Pennsylvania State Senate seat in the 10th district.
In the wake of what has been perceived to be a poor performance so far by Democratic nominee Steve Cickay, a number of prominent Democrats have urged him to step aside. They would rather another Democrat take on Republican incumbent State Sen. Chuck McIlhinney.
The Democrat they want is former PA-8 congressional candidate Shaughnessy Naughton.
According to party insiders, among those that have called on Naughton to step in and replace Cickay include former Governor Ed Rendell, Senator Bob Casey, Gubernatorial nominee Tom Wolf and FreshStartPA chair Katie McGinty.
Cickay’s detractors point to his poor fundraising performance. According to James McGinnis of the Intelligencer, Cickay raised only $6,490 compared to McIlhinney’s $112,895.
Furthermore, when the Senate Democrats polled the race they found McIlhinney holding a 50% to 34% lead over Cickay.
Naughton, meanwhile, ran a very competitive race against DCCC-backed Kevin Strouse in the PA-8 congressional primary. The first-time candidate fell just about 800 votes short of the upset and may have an unusual advantage if Cickay were to step aside.
As a result, Naughton would have a larger advantage than a typical candidate who entered the race just four months out. Many of these voters will have seen her and may well have voted for her (albeit in another race) just a few months before. This is because a congressional contest, especially a close one, draws much more attention than an uncontested State Senate primary.
Nevertheless Cickay seems content to stay in the race.