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Early 2024 Congressional Vulnerability Ratings

Nationally, the number of competitive U.S. House seats has been declining. But Pennsylvania still has a decent number of congressional seats that will be targeted by one party or the other during the 2024 election cycle.

For the eighth election cycle dating back to 2010, PoliticsPA will be publishing congressional vulnerability rankings for Pennsylvania’s delegation. 

Here, in our first attempt to handicap the 2024 Pennsylvania congressional races, some of the most vulnerable seats will be familiar to regular readers. 

Three Democratic-held districts that have regularly been at or near the top of our previous lists rank high once again — the ones represented by Reps. Susan Wild, Matt Cartwright, and Chris Deluzio. Each is classified in our “Vulnerable” category, and each has made the list of targeted seats for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House Republicans’ campaign arm.

Two other seats fall into the next category down, “Potentially Vulnerable.” They are the seats held by Republican Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Scott Perry. Both seats made the list of targets for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the Democrats’ House campaign arm.

Finally, two Democratic-held seats are categorized as “Minimally Vulnerable,” the ones held by Reps. Chrissy Houlahan and Summer Lee.

The other 10 House seats in Pennsylvania are not currently vulnerable at all, though if that changes, we’ll reflect it in our next update. Overall, the Democrats hold a 9-8 edge in the congressional delegation.

Our current version of the vulnerability rankings will serve as the baseline for our future updates. As of now, few if any credible challengers have announced candidacies, so our analysis is based mainly on electoral and demographic fundamentals in each district. If a strong challenger emerges in these or other Pennsylvania districts, we expect to adjust our ratings accordingly.

As these races take shape, Pennsylvania will be a major presidential battleground. It remains to be seen which party could benefit from the presidential contest down-ballot. Democrats likely got a boost in 2022 when Democrat Josh Shapiro resoundingly defeated Republican Doug Mastriano for governor. The contours of a possible Biden-Trump rematch in Pennsylvania, and how it affects House races, is unclear.

Here’s our full rundown. Statistics are from the forthcoming Almanac of American Politics 2024.

Highly vulnerable

No races



Vulnerable

1. 7th Congressional District

Incumbent: Susan Wild (D)
Tenure: 3rd term
Geography: Lehigh Valley: Primarily Lehigh and Northampton counties
2022 House result: Wild, 51%-49%
2020 presidential result: Biden, 49.7%-49.1%
Partisan Voting Index (Cook Political Report with Amy Walter): R+2
White: 69%
Black: 5%
Latino: 19%
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 30%
Poverty rate: 11%

Wild has won this swing district in three straight elections, but with declining percentages – 54%, 52% and most recently, 51%. Don’t expect this district to get any easier for Wild.



2. 8th Congressional District 

Incumbent: Matt Cartwright (D)
Tenure: 6th term
Geography: Northeastern Pennsylvania: Primarily Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Monroe counties
2022 House result: Cartwright, 51%-49%
2020 presidential result: Trump, 51%-48%
Partisan Voting Index (Cook Political Report with Amy Walter): R+4
White: 75%
Black: 6%
Latino: 13%
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 26%
Poverty rate: 13%

Cartwright’s district is slightly less Democratic than Wild’s — Trump won it by three points – but Cartwright benefits from being a well-known incumbent, even outrunning Scranton native Biden by a few points in the district. Still, the GOP has been gaining ground in this part of Pennsylvania in the Trump era, so Cartwright can expect continued tough races.



3. 17th Congressional District

Incumbent: Chris Deluzio (D)
Tenure: 1st term
Geography: Northern suburbs of Pittsburgh: Allegheny and Beaver counties
2022 House result: Deluzio, 53%-47%
2020 presidential result: Biden, 52%-46%
Partisan Voting Index (Cook Political Report with Amy Walter): Even
White: 82%
Black: 8%
Latino: 2%
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 42%
Poverty rate: 8%

Deluzio won this swingy district by a six-point margin in 2022, holding it for the Democrats after Conor Lamb made an unsuccessful run for Senate. Expect a significant Republican challenge here in 2024.



Potentially vulnerable

4. 1st Congressional District

Incumbent: Brian Fitzpatrick (R)
Tenure: 4th term
Geography: Philadelphia suburbs: Bucks County
2022 House result: Fitzpatrick, 55%-45%
2020 presidential result: Biden, 52%-47%
Partisan Voting Index (Cook Political Report with Amy Walter): Even
White: 80%
Black: 4%
Latino: 6%
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 42%
Poverty rate: 5%

Fitzpatrick’s moderate reputation has strengthened his position in what could be challenging territory; Biden won it by 5 points in 2020, but Fitzpatrick won it by 10 in 2022. Despite the favorable district, Democratic efforts have traditionally come up short here. Whether 2024 will be different remains to be seen.



5. 10th Congressional District

Incumbent: Scott Perry (R)
Tenure: 6th term
Geography: Harrisburg and environs: Dauphin, Cumberland, and York counties
2022 House result: Perry, 54%-46%
2020 presidential result: Trump, 51%-47%
Partisan Voting Index (Cook Political Report with Amy Walter): R+5
White: 71%
Black: 10%
Latino: 9%
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 32%
Poverty rate: 10%

This is a Republican district, but one where Perry’s hard-right politics might be vulnerable to the right Democratic challenger. 



Minimally vulnerable

6. 6th Congressional District

Incumbent: Chrissy Houlahan (D)
Tenure: 3rd term
Geography: Southeastern suburbs: Chester and Berks counties
2022 House result: Houlahan, 58%-42%
2020 presidential result: Biden, 57%-42%
Partisan Voting Index (Cook Political Report with Amy Walter): D+5
White: 69%
Black: 5%
Latino: 16%
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 46%
Poverty rate: 9%

Houlahan easily defeated a drastically underfunded Republican challenger in 2022. A stronger GOP candidate might be able to make it a closer race in 2024.



7. 12th Congressional District

Incumbent: Summer Lee (D)
Tenure: 1st term
Geography: Pittsburgh
2022 House result: Lee, 56%-44%
2020 presidential result: Biden, 59%-39%
Partisan Voting Index (Cook Political Report with Amy Walter): D+8
White: 73%
Black: 15%
Latino: 3%
Bachelor’s degree or higher: 38%
Poverty rate: 14%

Lee, a progressive aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., won the 2022 Democratic primary to succeed longtime Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle. Lee’s ideology, plus the fact that she her Republican opponent was also named Mike Doyle, kept her 12-point margin of victory narrower than Biden’s 20-point victory two years earlier. It’s possible that Lee could become vulnerable, but Pittsburgh has become an increasingly blue island in red Western Pennsylvania, which should help her keep her office.

2 Responses

  1. Shouldn’t you consider Summer Lee as “hard left” since Scott Perry was described as having “hard right” politics?

    1. Purely semantics. You sound on the verge of being triggered over irrelevant words. Knowing PoliticsPA is right-leaning and Republican-preferred, I’m confident they roll their eyes at your comment.





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