Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation is even once again.
State Rep. Fred Keller (R-Snyder) wins the special election for the 12th Congressional District by defeating Democrat Marc Friedenberg.
He had a 40 point lead with 60% of precincts reporting according to the New York Times by the time the race was called.
Keller will succeed five term Rep. Tom Marino (R-Lycoming) who resigned in January citing health issues.
“I’m honored to have the support of the hardworking people of the 12th Congressional District and for their trust in electing me to represent them in Congress,” Keller said in a statement. “Tonight is the beginning of us working together to address the issues that the people have told us will positively impact every family across central and northeast Pennsylvania.”
The 12th District is one of the most GOP friendly in the state of Pennsylvania. Marino’s most recent reelection bid was a 32 point victory over Friedenberg. The boundaries of this district voted for President Donald Trump over Sec. Hillary Clinton by over 35 points.
Trump made an appearance in the district Monday night holding a rally in Montoursville in an effort to boost turnout for Keller and begin his effort to hold on to PA in 2020. A number of conservative PACs donated to Keller’s campaign, including the super PAC House Freedom Action, backed by the conservative House Freedom Caucus, according to OpenSecrets. While Trump stumped for Keller and other outside groups donated to Keller in an effort to run up the score, the DNC or DCCC did not tweet about this race once leading into today over the previous four months, according to the National Journal’s Alex Clearfield.
Outside of Trump’s rally in the district, this race rarely garnered national headlines as Keller pushed a message that backed Trump and boasted about his conservative record in the state in the Republican stronghold. Friedenberg hit Keller on supporting Trump as he backed tariffs that he believes was hurting farmers and consumers in the district, while Keller attacked Friedenberg for supporting a progressive agenda that included support for the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.
Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation will now be locked up at 9 Democrats and Republicans each.
Keller’s victory will prompt another special election to fill the vacancy for his House District.