Congressional Vulnerability Rankings, October Edition

Few states have had as many competitive congressional races over the past decade as Pennsylvania. But this year is turning out to be a bust for competitive races.

The most recent round of redistricting leaned Republican, but it left several potentially competitive House districts. “Potentially,” however, has not morphed into “actually.”

After months of diminishing vulnerability for incumbents, it became clear by October that only one congressional seat in Pennsylvania was genuinely vulnerable for the party controlling it – the one held by Democratic Rep. Mark Critz.

The coup de grace came from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s decision to cancel all TV advertising in the Philadelphia media market, depriving several Democratic congressional challengers of national air support. Instead, the DCCC and other outside groups have upped their advertising in the race between Critz and Republican challenger Keith Rothfus.

Following the Democratic moves, Republican candidates and groups have also abandoned plans for ad buys in races other than Critz-Rothfus.

With such developments, we’re ready to place our marker in our regular congressional vulnerability rankings. (The previous ratings, published Aug. 7, are here.)

As always, these ratings are based on consultations with a range of state and national political experts. We list the seats in descending order of vulnerability, which we define as the likelihood of the seat switching party control in the 2012 election.

With the rankings below, we’ll see how we do on Election Night.


1. Mark Critz (D, 12th district)
(No change)

Potentially vulnerable

2. Mike Fitzpatrick (R, 8th district)
(Shifted from vulnerable)

3. Jim Gerlach (R, 6th district)
(No change)

Minimally vulnerable

4. Pat Meehan (R, 7th district)
(Shifted from potentially vulnerable)

5. Tim Murphy (R, 18th district)
(Shifted from potentially vulnerable)

Not vulnerable

6. Lou Barletta (R, 11th district)
(Shifted from minimally vulnerable)

7. Mike Kelly (R, 3rd district)
(Shifted from minimally vulnerable)

8. Tom Marino (R, 10th district)
(Shifted from minimally vulnerable)

9. Charlie Dent (R, 15th district)
(Shifted from minimally vulnerable)

10 (tie). Joseph Pitts (R, 16th district)
(No change)

10 (tie). Open seat (Tim Holden, D, defeated in primary, 17th district).
(No change)

13 (tie). Open seat. (Todd Platts, R, retiring, 4th district).
(No change)

13 (tie). Bob Brady (D, 1st district.)
(No change)

13 (tie). Chaka Fattah (D, 2nd district)
(No change)

13 (tie). Glenn Thompson (R, 5th district).
(No change)

13 (tie). Bill Shuster (R, 9th district).
(No change)

13 (tie). Allyson Schwartz (D, 13th district).
(No change)

13 (tie). Mike Doyle (D, 14th district).
(No change)

October 23rd, 2012 | Posted in Congress, Features, Front Page Stories, Top Stories | 4 Comments

4 thoughts on “Congressional Vulnerability Rankings, October Edition”

  1. jjcnpa says:

    The sleeper is the Stilp Barletta race. Stilp can definitely win.

  2. Ogodei says:

    It’s increasingly clear that you lot are in the Republicans’ pockets.

  3. Idiots says:

    You guys really are missing the boat on the Gene Stilp race.

    You can’t use money as the only measuring stick. It doesn’t apply here.

    Take a deeper look and redeem yourselves before you downgrade him. Seriously.

  4. female dem says:

    Mark Critz should be ousted if the people of his district had any sense.

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