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BREAKING: PA-6: Li Switches Elections

Lindy LiYou don’t see this everyday.

Lindy Li, a 25 year-old Democrat, has switched races. In June, she announced that she would run in the 7th district. Now, Li says she is running in the 6th district contest instead.

You’d be forgiven for missing the change as there wasn’t any grand announcement.

In a fundraising email sent out on Wednesday (the fourth quarter ends on Thursday), Li writes that  “we have a real opportunity to win against a vulnerable, first-term Congressman.”

Congressman Pat Meehan of PA-7 is in the midst of his third term while Congressman Ryan Costello of PA-6 is in his first. This is the only indication that a change was made.

GOP consultant Christopher Nicholas seems to have been the first person to notice:

In light of this, PoliticsPA reached out to the candidate.

“I am running in PA-6, where I grew up and where my family and I have lived for 15 years,” she stated. “We had wanted to run in PA-6 from the very start.”

According to a June report from Jonathan Tamari of the Inquirer, Li did in fact originally choose the 6th district but “decided on the seventh after talks with party leaders”. At Pennsylvania Society, the candidate and her campaign consultant casually discussed the PA-6 contest.

At this moment, Google searches and the campaign’s own website still identify Li as running in PA-7.

 Li Google

Li Website

With this move, the PA-7 Democratic primary is now between 2014 nominee Mary Ellen Balchunis and pastor Bill Golderer. Meanwhile, Li will now face former Army Aviator Mike Parrish.

Last week, Nathan Gonzalez of Roll Call reported that the DCCC is looking for an alternative to Parrish. In November, Tamari mentioned that the DCCC pushed Golderer to run in PA-7. Couple that with his previous report that Li initially chose the 7th on the advice of party leaders and it looks like the Democratic establishment is playing musical chairs in Southeast PA.

48 Responses

  1. DemocraticSocialist-

    I’m not claiming that Margo is a fan of mine, but she and I keep it civil and respectful.

  2. I was looking at the official campaign finance reports as posted on the PA Department of State’s website. As for Lindy and Margo, Lindy has been cozying up to Margo, who’s always happy to make friends with money. She has ambitions for higher office and has been involved with many candidates outside of her district. A young fool with mony will never have a shortage of friends.

    I don’t think Margo thinks as well of you as you seem to think she does.

  3. DemocraticSocialist-

    The contribution amount (over 70K) you are taking about sounds like the 77K total from ActBlue from 3rd quarter. I’m not sure where you saw the entry (please clarify with specific page/filing). Maybe the ActBlue acct has slightly different name.

    Her dad is her treasurer.

    I find it doubtful that DelcoDemWoman is Margo. The style doesn’t strike me as hers, and the content even less.

    Margo is in the 1st Congressional district, but not 6th nor 7th, so this race and Lindy are irrelevant to her.

    Margo knows that I do care about flipping districts from R to D.

    As far as Margo’s seat, it is very safe, so no matter who wins that primary, it’s staying Dem.

  4. I think it’s odd that her committee, “Lindy Li for Congress” has more than $70,000 in small contributions from “Lindy Li for U.S. Congress” listed in the individual contributions section.

    DelcoDemWoman has to be Margo Davidson. Her literary style is unmistakeable.

  5. Somehow, someway, the Democrats are going to lose PA-6, PA-7, and PA-8 all again. The only hope is PA-8.

  6. TT

    I doubt she’s even on their radar yet. From the way the DCCC is reportedly abandoning Parrish, he might not be their radar either.

    I don’t think there’s been much activity yet in the 6th.

  7. I understand that this is a candidate with almost exclusively out of district money (and a couple FEC violations available for review online from excessive donations and potential money from foreign nationals) who’s shopping districts. This is an earnest question, and I mean it – how do residents of the sixth feel about that? Do they feel like they’re a product to be bought? Do they feel like they’re being manipulated by someone sitting on tremendous family and Princeton alumni wealth who’s trying to buy the cheapest seat?

  8. Bill Thomas-

    Lindy certainly had no chance in the 7th General. In the Primary, Mary Ellen is certainly the more qualified candidate and has committee/party support.

    However, give the amount of money Lindy raised (I’m guessing $400K cash-on-hand by end of year), she could have drowned out Mary Ellen and reached more voters, without Mary Ellen being able to mount a response and correct the record.

    So, I can’t make a prediction on that outcome, given Lindy’s financial resources and an inattentive electorate. Fortunately, Lindy is someone else’s problem now.

  9. McGinty’s revolving door to $$-

    It will be interesting. Fetterman pushing Sestak to third is a bit of a reach, but no way Sestak is beating McGinty (short of McGinty getting caught up in some surprise scandal).

  10. Whether ai agree or not with Diano, I respect he puts it out there in his name, When I see stupid statements and nasty statements from uninformed idiots like Delcodemwoman that is a sad little woman, I guess its a woman. Lindy had no chance in the Pa 07th primary.

  11. David:
    It should be fun comparing notes after this contest is over.

  12. McGinty’s revolving door to $$-

    Interesting take. I agree that Toomey will likely get reelected, though I disagree that Sestak is the one who can take him out. Toomey wants to run against Sestak.

    I don’t think Sestak’s vet support is that deep (and I’ve heard that some resent how he uses his past service for political gain). To the enlisted crowd, Sestak is just another stuck-up officer with an huge ego. Also, I don’t think the vet vote will make a difference either way.

    1) I don’t believe it’s really the year for the anti-establishment candidate. Bernie’s making a lot of noise, but Hillary is going to be the Dem nominee.

    2) As for anti-establishment candidate in this race, that’s Fetterman, not Sestak.

    Those “thousands of loyal volunteers” are going to be working on the presidential campaign and other races. McGinty is actually going to be able to pay staff. Fetterman can tap into the Bernie crowd after Hillary sweeps super-Tuesday. Maybe, Bernie will even stump for Fetterman! That would certainly tip the scales against Joe.

    My guess is that McGinty wins the primary, due to overwhelming resources, endorsements, party support, etc.

    My (somewhat optimistic) guess for second place is Fetterman, with Sestak third (and Joe VodVarka 4th, should VodVarka make the ballot).

    Fetterman’s biggest disadvantages are
    1) his lack of political name recognition (mayor of very small town)
    2) his physical appearance which will turnoff the more straight-laced voters.

    His advantages are
    1) EVERYONE (including Sestak and McGinty supporters) consider Fetterman to be genuine, sincere, and selfless.
    2) He’s got top notch campaign staff running the show
    3) He’s in the Western part of the state, which will give him regional votes
    4) He will appeal to the Bernie crowd.
    5) He takes male votes away from Sestak (whose “tough act” will look silly next to Fetterman).

    I realize that Fetterman beating Sestak is more “out-there” among the predictions, but Fetterman has to get past Sestak and “steal his mojo” to have a shot at McGinty. If Fetterman pulls ahead of Sestak in polls, it will accelerate his momentum.

    Now, I’m making this long-shot prediction before seeing the 4th quarter fundraising numbers, and before Sestak’s misdeeds have been exposed. But, it’s one of those predictions that will be really cool if it comes true.

  13. David, correction:
    Sestak win, McGinty place, Fetterman show. My bad.

  14. David Diano
    You should say “if” Sestak loses the primary, but, OK, I’ll answer. If Sestak loses the primary to McGinty I don’t believe it will matter what most of us do because I truly believe Toomey will win re-election. I believe Sestak has what it takes to beat Toomey because of the loyalty of thousands of on-the-ground supporters (even rank and file union members– which union BOSSES ignore when the bosses endorse candidates). The Admiral’s PERSONAL contact with thousands around the state-constitutes his ground game and network. Then there’s the Veteran’s vote! Additionally, Sestak did not take the easy path to personal riches by entering the revolving doors of government and corporation. Finally, this is the year of the anti-establishment candidate and Sestak fits that mold well. I could be wrong, of course, but my bets are still with Sestak for the win, McGinty for show, and Fetterman for place.

  15. McGinty’s revolving door to $$-

    I’ll write in Kathleen Kane. 🙂

    I consider Sestak be completely unqualified for the position due to his not being a resident of the state. Also, I can’t responsibly vote for him for any elected office because he is a sadistic bast@rd and mentally unstable. There’s a lot of stuff about him I know/believe from my own experiences with him, as well as friends I trust, that I can’t even publish here because I can’t “prove” them to third parties. Whether or not Sestak is ever charged or called out publicly for his behavior, is irrelevant to what I already know about him privately.

    So, when it comes to Sestak, he’s never getting my vote for any office, and I would vote for an independent candidate or write in someone who is actually a PA resident. It’s VERY rare that I wouldn’t vote straight-ticket, but some candidates are worst than having no representative at all. I would love to have a “none-of-the-above” option under your scenario.

    Fortunately, Sestak won’t be the nominee, so I pose an alternate question to you:

    What will YOU do, when Sestak loses the Primary and puts his PA house up for sale? Will you admit that Joe’s been a carpetbagger all along?

  16. David Diano:
    Let’s assume you are way off base in your declarations and allegations against Sestak, and, Sestak wins the primary! For whom will you vote in the general election?

  17. Cindy Tricoski

    Well, that’s a strange way to handle it, since the endorsement is a given after the primary.

  18. David Diano–no, I meant after the primary. We don’t endorse anyone as a committee in Berks until the voters have had their say, in the interest of giving all candodates an equal opportunity to be heard. Maybe we’re the only one that doesn’t endorse prior to the primary. I don’t know. But individual committee members in Berks can and do endorse candidates they support.

  19. DelcoDemWoman-

    I’m pretty good on my Sestak predictions.
    1) Sestak’s fundraising has been anemic. Check
    2) Sestak has little party support. Check.
    3) Sestak has little union support. Check. (currently no union support)
    4) Sestak will get blow away by McGinty in fundraising. (Check: for previous partial quarter, and going to be huge this quarter)
    5) Sestak has no professional campaign staff, and pros stay away from him. Check
    6) Big scandal coming out. Stay tuned!

    As for Lindy, she certainly was a threat to Mary Ellen in the 7th, but only due to her fundraising advantage, not any actual support within the committees. She’d be able to afford advertising, lawnsigns, etc. for the primary. But, you are correct that she would get blown away by Meehan in the general.

  20. Dave Diano – you really need to get a life! Your predictions are often so off base it boggles the mind that you continue to make them. Just take your Sestak predictions for starters.

    Here’s a prediction for you –Lindy Li would have beat the daylights out of Mary Ellen who is as sweet as apple pie and as politically adapt as a stone. Lindy would have went on to lose badly to Meehan. This move by Lindy might actually give Dems a pick -up or a closer contest. I know that since you are in the fringe “tea party look-a-alike” part of the Democratic party you really don’t care if we, the Dems, ever flip a seat. As long as someone with your point of view annoys the hell out of actual contenders to flip Republican seats. You always forget, if you don’t win, you cannot govern, AT ALL. Ask the Dems in PA legislature and US legislature.

    Sad little man

  21. Lindy should run in the 2nd. In fact, I think it would be fun for all of the candidates to play musical chairs over the next few weeks. Everyone should change districts–we need to inject some excitement into the usual Boeing and predictable state of PA politics. So…where should Brady and Fattah run?

  22. what a narcissistic moron. “We had wanted to run in PA-6 from the very start.” does anyone actually believe that? she’s lying, plain and simple. she looked the voters in the eye and lied to them.

  23. Good to see people running in what’s probably an impossible task. I hope the Dem “machine” is going to realize that this is not about winning but about promoting. I hope they use these primaries as a positive way to introduce these folks as potential candidates for other or future opportunities, even though some may be viewed as unsuitable or not party line favorites. But that may be too much to ask.

    Perhaps Dem Unplugged or Delco Debates might be interested in doing something during the primary to promote these candidates. I will speak to Bob Small on that. There is likely to be very little buzz during the general, who knows whether Pa will be in play, not much hope of any real debate there.

    As for Meehan, our congressman from Idaho, I note he’s starting to position himself more as a moderate who works with both parties. I assume he’s not expecting a tea party challenger and is already preparing for the general, not that he has much to worry about. Or maybe he’s thinking ahead a few years to redistricting, when the heavily gerrymandered 7th will be a potential target for the history bin. One problem with heavily gerrymandered districts is that there is no central gore or power center to influence things, a lot of voters outside of Ridley, Springfield etc would rather be represented by someone else or don’t give a damn. There’s not much of a Meehan loyalty factor. Let’s save the 7th! We might lose Pat Meehan, oh no……..

  24. She made the right choice is by switching from Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District to Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District because she would be a long shot in Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District to a better Known District for Democrats can win in Pennsylvania’s 6th District because that way for the Democratic Establish can support her in the 6th District better than the 7th District in 2016.

  25. PhillyFrank-

    Everybody else is running for the 2nd, why not her. Actually, the state party must be pretty worried about Fattah’s chances. Normally, they would not sell VAN/VoteBuilder to a challenger of an incumbent (no matter how bad the incumbent was), but this year they are making a rare exception.

    I agree with much of what you said. You left out that Mary Ellen is a professor of political science and would bring a welcome supply of fact-based knowledge to a woefully ignorant congress.

    At the moment, none. However, I hope to sign up Mary Ellen’s campaign after the quarter. But, I would never even consider offering VoterWeb to either Lindy or Golderer, so your point is moot.

    Cindy Tricoski-

    Endorsing after the primary is meaningless. They aren’t going to endorse anyone other then the Dem nominee who won the primary. Did you mean after “petitions” instead of after “primary”? Because, there is precedent for that with committees wanting to look at the strength/support in the signature counts.

    DCCC is the very definition of the proverbial “fair weather friend”. Their $$$ can be helpful, but otherwise they are rather useless and traitorous, and often fail to deliver on their commitments in the last weeks of a campaign. Their bean-counters will look at the fundraising totals, and not care whose name is on the ticket.

    That is the point/goal of gerrymandering.

    The reports are easy to figure out. She bought a list of nationwide donors with Chinese names from NGP and sent them letters about how she was a Chinese American immigrant trying to make history (and her “dreams” come true). She got a lot of small donations and a few big ones. (A few appear to be from addresses outside the country, which is a problem, unless they are Americans living abroad.)

    Militant Republican Moderate-
    She doesn’t have any more connection to the 2nd than the 7th or 6th. Sure, she (allegedly) has her real apartment down there, but she grew up and went to high-school in the 6th district. Almost none of her money comes from PA, so the district choice has been irrelevant, as most of her donors wouldn’t know the 2nd from the 6th or 7th.

    The Republicans gerrymandered the crap out of the 7th district so that even Sestak couldn’t win the seat back with $5 million. But, Meehan could wind up getting one of those hooverboards for Christmas and break his neck, or get hit by a bus, or a drunk driver.

    Mary Ellen has the knowledge and intelligence to vote/fight for good legislation and policies (far better than a bump-on-a-log like Meehan).

    I think it’s great for young people to run for office and get involved. However, when they act as phony as the grown-ups they want to replace, it’s nothing to be proud of. There are plenty of young REAL activists fighting for wages, equality, environment, etc. They organize rallies, protests, petition drives, food banks, shelters for the homeless, etc. They don’t look like they just got back from the spa and had a makeover and a shopping spree.

    Bill Thomas-

    Golderer’s name keeps coming up, but I go to events and I’ve never seen him yet. I’ve seen Mary Ellen and Lindy show up.

    It’s “news” because a change of districts is rare a month out from petitions. It changes the 6th to have a Dem primary, and changes the nature of the Dem primary in the 7th.

  26. Since she has zero chance against Costolo, Meehan, Petri, or any random Repubkican in New Jersey or Wyomng against whom she might run, why is this news?

  27. Well it is good for everyone that Lindy is gone from the 7th, not that she was actually ever there. Now Golderer who has no connection to the 7th and really only inside the city of Philadelphia should follow suit.

  28. Guys, I am not going to weigh in on the decision, but only point out that anytime someone runs for public office and puts oneself out there for all to judge it does take a certain amount of strength and my hat is off to anyone who can do that. Especially at a younger age.

  29. If she had any brains and was concerned about unrepresented young voters she would be running in the 2nd. The millennial voters that live in the City have very little in common with Local 98 and the Democrat machine politicians most of which are very ethically challenged.
    She will get clobbered as bad by Costello as she would have been by Meehan. Both Meehan and Costello are centrist that are much closer to the views of the people in the district than Li’s liberal views are.
    Why people are excited about Balchunis is completely beyond me. Her effort in 2014 can only be described as pathetic.

  30. David Diano–the national committee supported Parrish before and will probably do so again–unless he changes his mind again and drops out. Then no doubt they’ll take the lion’s share of their support to another state they deem more important. There was another candidate already who apparently didn’t meet their criteria nor garner any support. He quietly dropped out. There are quite a few Berks committee people who support her, but she hasn’t asked for any endorsements, as far as I know. As I know you’re aware, the Berks County Committee itself doesn’t endorse until after the primary.

  31. With Lindy out, this will help Balchunis greatly. She will be the only woman in the race and with her institutional support that she has been locking up in the counties, she is in a good position. Golderer may have more money, but who knows, reports aren’t in yet.

    But let’s remember, Golderer lives in the 6th, not in the 7th where he is running. So again we have another political opportunist, who is district shopping for the best place to run. Mary Ellen is a nice lady, who may not be tough enough for cutthroat politics, but she is dedicated to the Democratic Party and stands up for the right principles.

  32. Parrish has his issues and he better raise a lot more money this quarter – but he is a good guy who is dedicated to our country and has put his life on the line for it. But he is a good candidate for the district – if anyone hasn’t looked, the 6th is not the bastion of liberalism – Rural Berks and Lebanon Counties anyone? Lindy is too progressive for those areas – she should have stayed in the 7th – or maybe she should have run in the 2nd. She might actually do well there. It’s not too late Lindy, think about it. Petitions don’t start for another month!

  33. Total twit. Thinks she can change districts and no one will notice. This is one of the many reasons people are sick and tired of politicians!

  34. Cindy Tricosk

    The DCCC has already been shopping for a candidate other than Parrish (according to recent PoliticsPA article), so your comments indicating current support for Parrish don’t make sense.

    I would expect the DCCC to embrace her if her fundraising numbers dwarf Parrish.


    Actually, everyone seems to believe she really lives in Philly around Rittenhouse SQ.

  35. Very sneaky and underhanded on Lindy’s part. So was she going to slide into the 6th without anyone noticing? Beat the heck out of Meehan in her emails one day and then suddenly switch to beat up Costello on another and pretend that no one would notice? How stupid does she think we are? I live in the 2nd – and we have our own disaster going on here, but I am glad I don’t have to put up with this. Maybe pretty boy Sims wants to jump into the 6th – heck if Lindy can do it – why not him – lord knows he’s gonna get smoked in the 2nd – shoot and maybe lose his State House seat to boot.

  36. I feel like she needs to explain this little quote:

    “We had wanted to run in PA-6 from the very start.”

  37. Having met Lindy at the very start of her campaign and having kept in touch with her since then, I welcome her decision to run in the 6th. Contrary to previous comments, I believe she’s smart and politically savvy, and, it goes without saying, not a “twit”. She won’t have the DNC behind her because the DNC apparently likes a candidate who in the not-so-distant past has switched from “I” to “R” so he could work on the McCain/Palin campaign. Then switched again to “D” when the opportunity presented itself, his explanation being that the Republican Party had moved too far to the right–something he apparently didn’t notice during his McCain/Palin days. As far as speaking about coming here from China, I can name many people in politics who cite their background as one of their reasons for running. The young people I know are enthusiastic about her candidacy. She’ll be a welcome alternative to Mr. Parrish, and, if she comes up short in the primary, as previous commenters believe she will, I hope her candidacy forces Mr. Parrish to answer hard questions and take stands on things he might otherwise gloss over–much like Sanders’ candidacy is doing with the Clinton campaign.

  38. SEPADem-

    No one’s going to be sad to see her go, nor will we miss her insipid prattling about how her parents came here with a “suitcase full of dreams” (and leaving out the suitcase full of money) and how she was going to “unleash the power of her generation”.

    When I first met her, I tried to explain the difficulties of the gerrymandered 7th, and how hard it would be for even Sestak to take it back. She actually claimed she could raise $7 million. I just laughed in her face, though I couldn’t tell if she was so naive that she really believed it, or was just completely immersed in her own bullsh*t sounded like she believed it.

    I feel bad for Parrish. The DCCC is up to their usual disloyalty of backing a candidate, then abandoning him at the first hint of trouble. Lindy’s probably got close to 400K cash on hand (she had $250K at end of last quarter). So, Parrish is going to have a primary fight on his hands against a well funded opponent, if he stays in.

    Will DCCC jump over to embrace Lindy? Was she invited or is she just crashing the party?

    Now she’s someone else’s problem to deal with.

  39. Wow. Having met her a couple of times, I have never been impressed with Lindy. She sure is enthusiastic, but doesn’t seem that bright. It is clear now though that she is an opportunist and will do anything to win. She never lived in the 7th and some have questioned whether she lives in the 6th. The people of the 7th won’t really be sad to see her go – her campaign stops were brief and a miniscule amount of her $100s of thousands of donations came from the district or even Southeast PA for that matter. I want someone that will stand up for me and be dedicated to the people of the district. If she can be that quick to change districts because it may give her a little bit better of a chance of winning, she doesn’t stand for anything. No thanks.

  40. I heard this for the first time from about 3 or 4 people yesterday (Tuesday). We didn’t know whether to believe it, but figured she’d wait a few days until after the fund-raising quarter to announce it. It’s not clear from the story if she’s formally announce the switch, or it accidentally slipped.

    For Lindy, the move makes perfect sense. She was talked into the 7th because the powers-that-be thought they had the 6th locked down, and didn’t want Lindy or another candidate screwing it up with a primary. Now, they’ve got buyer’s remorse, so Lindy’s back in (invited or not).

    The 7th has a 65,000 GOP registration advantage. The 6th has a 25,000 GOP registration advantage and 60,000 independents.

    So, the math is pretty easy for Lindy, who never had any ties to the 7th (and was not getting any traction with the committee people for endorsements).

    This makes the 7th simpler. The various groups supporting women candidates don’t have to wring their hands picking one over another. Golderer isn’t going anywhere. He’s an unknown who rarely votes, and has no connections to the local parties and committee people.

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