Summer Lee, the Democratic candidate for the 12th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House, hopes to add her name to a historic list of women who have served in Washington.
Lee, a current member of the Pennsylvania House, is running to become the first Black woman to represent the Keystone State in the U.S. House, joining such barrier busters as:
- Kamala Harris, the first woman of color, the first Black person, and the first South Asian person elected vice president
- Carol Moseley Braun (D-Ill.) was the first woman of color elected to the U.S. Senate
- Patsy Takemoto Mink (D-Hawaii), an Asian Pacific Islander, was the first woman of color elected to the U.S. House of Representatives
She is vying for the seat against Republican nominee Mike Doyle, a councilman from Plum Borough. Ironically, the seat is being vacated by retiring Democrat Mike Doyle, who served on Capitol Hill since 1995. Might voters be confused about the dueling Doyle names?
“For the most part it’s cleared up,” the Democratic Doyle said, though mailers continue to market the GOP candidate as a “trusted name.”
Voters will have the final say.
“I am a very conservative Republican,” Doyle told Pittsburgh’s WTAE-TV. “I’m strong on crime, I’m strong on the Second Amendment, I’m strong with business, and we need to get spending under control in Washington.”
Lee, on the other hand, is an attorney, social justice activist, and self-described democratic socialist, who advocates for racial, environmental, and economic justice.
If Lee is to win, the state representative will need to hold on to a majority of Democratic voters in the two counties — 332,560 combined — compared to 152,513 registered Republicans, and 82,098 independents. While Doyle had no opposition in the primary, Lee won a tough five-candidate primary by fewer than 1,000 votes and more Democrats voted against her — 66,525 — than voted for her — 47,958.
After Lee won the Democratic primary, the non-partisan Cook Political Report downgraded the 2022 race from a solid Democratic victory to likely Democratic, citing Lee’s progressive leanings in an economic climate that disfavors Democrats, according to Politico.