The contest was simple: whichever of the 18 Democratic congressional candidates received the most online votes, won. It was meant to be a measure of grassroots organizing strength. Eaton made it into the top three, the final round, along with Reps Mark Critz (D-Cambria) and Allyson Schwartz (D-Montgomery). They finished second and third respectively.
“I am honored to announce that I have won the Keystone Challenge! Thank you to all my supporters who voted for me. I will continue fighting for the people of the 3rd District!” said Eaton in a statement – appropriately – on Facebook.
The grand prize of this contest? Not just a pat on the back and boost to the ego. The prize is a fundraising email by the PA Dems to their six-figure email list, which will likely yield a few thousand dollars towards Eaton’s campaign.
The PA Dems get a bit of a boost, too: the email addresses of everyone who voted in the contest.
The prize will help Eaton, a professor of psychology at Penn State-Shenango, in a lopsided fundraising battle thus far in the race for PA-3. In Q2, Incumbent Mike Kelly raised $164k compared to Eaton’s $83k, and has a commanding lead in cash-on-hand, $389k to $21k.
In a statement, Kelly spokesperson Josh Wilson “commended” Eaton on winning this challenge.
“Mrs. Eaton should be congratulated. It’s quite an accomplishment to be recognized as one of the state’s most liberal campaigns. Voters in western Pennsylvania would love to hear about that accomplishment. Hopefully she’ll tell them about her big award this Fall.”