Reader Poll: Which PA Republican is Most Vulnerable to a Primary?

PA US House Map 2013Republicans currently hold 13 of Pennsylvania’s 18 seats in the U.S. House.

Republican map-drawers did a good job of securing Pennsylvania’s GOP members of Congress against challenges from the left. But what about the right? Who could most feasibly lose a primary?

Both candidates and incumbents are gearing up for next year’s midterm elections, including several potential primary challenges.

As second quarter fundraising numbers trickle in and candidates continue to ramp-up their campaign organizations, PoliticsPA would like to know: which Pa. Republican is most vulnerable to a primary challenge?

Which Republican is most vulnerable to a primary challenge?


  • PA-9: Bill Shuster (R-Blair) (31%)
  • PA-18: Tim Murphy (R-Allegheny) (11%)
  • PA-12: Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny) (11%)
  • PA-8: Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks) (9%)
  • PA-15: Charlie Dent (R-Lehigh) (9%)
  • PA-11: Lou Barletta (R-Luzerne) (6%)
  • PA-16: Joe Pitts (R-Chester) (4%)
  • PA-6: Jim Gerlach (R-Chester) (4%)
  • PA-10: Tom Marino (R-Lycoming) (4%)
  • PA-7: Pat Meehan (R-Delaware) (4%)
  • PA-4: Scott Perry (R-York) (3%)
  • PA-3: Mike Kelly (R-Butler) (2%)
  • PA-5: GT Thompson (R-Centre) (2%)

Total Voters: 763

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23 Responses

  1. Of all of them, Patrick Meehan SHOULD be primaried. Candidates are scared off by the money he raised and the Delaware County Machine that controls everything. But this man is vulnerable and a fraud. He said he was going to clean up Washington and spends all his time fundraising and making deals. He claimed to be a Conservative, but is the most liberal Republican in Congress. He needs to go and a primary challenger would have a great shot.

  2. Bill Shuster has long served himself and the party machine, it is time for him to be replaced.

  3. First, HB/SB 76 are bills in the state legislature and not in the U.S. Congress, so none of them can cosponsor them.

    Second, for those that think that Tim Murphy is going to be ousted in a primary… you need to rethink this. He is quite popular in his district, standing with them on the issues that are important to them. His support of energy will help him a lot in his new district, that includes Greene and more of Washington Counties. He has great constituent services that make the people like him even more. That seat is Tim Murphy’s for as long as he wants it. In 2012 he faced a primary challenger and destroyed him and usually brings in around 65% of the vote in the general.

    As for the rest, I highly doubt any of them will see any big primary challenges. There will be talk, as always, but when it comes time to step up, you won’t see any big names come to the plate.

  4. I CANT FIND MIKE SHUSTERS CONSERVATIVE CREDENTIALS MAYBE HE LEFT THEM IN THE BLUE PANTS THIS TIME

  5. @Kirt-

    So what? Shuster’s trolls are in here propping him up and slamming his enemies all the time. At least Halverson hasn’t been sending out spies… a thing Billy Boy has done in the past and is doing again this time.

  6. It should be noted that Art Halvorson sent out an email begging for votes for this readers’ poll against Congressman Bill Shuster. Text of email is below.

    Here’s a quick & simple way for you to help me send a strong message to Rep. Shuster that you’re ready for a ‪change‬ to the status quo in Washington, DC.

    PoliticsPA posted a poll this morning to see which current Republican U.S. Representative in PA is the most vulnerable for the primary in May 2014.

    Anyone can participate in the poll. So, if you would like to vote for “PA-9 Bill Shuster” in support of my candidacy, simply copy & paste the following link into your internet browser:

  7. Congressman Shuster is an independent thinker, and this can be seen from the hypocritical arguments being made here. “He is too moderate, too conservative, too liberal”, etc. Shuster has kept his father’s tradition of doing what is best for the hard-working families and for the economic development of the 9th district. He is working hard to save taxpayers money, and to create a strong, flourishing economy. Best of luck, Mr. Shuster, and thanks for all that you and your staff have done for my family and for PA’s 9th district.

  8. Bill Shuster’s days are coming to an end. He’s been a complete RINO during his entire reign in congress. He’s done. Everyone please support Art Halvorson for Congress in PA’s 9th District!!

  9. Rep Shuster was my Rep until the redraw. Shuster never impressed me. I never felt like his heart was in the job. I moved to the area right during the time of the inter fighting nomination process in Franklin County that I read about in the newspapers. I thought Shuster was handed the nomination by leaders out of loyalty to his father. I thought he was not the best qualified for the job. Others were overlooked then. Still today I think people just accept that he is the best we can do.

    The landscape and has changed and we need a Congressman in Washington D.C.(the war zone) that is a independent thinker, has good judgement based on good principles, capable to make wise decision on his own and doesn’t have to wait for someone to tell him what to do.

    We need someone willing to fight for the voters (the true power givers). After reading this site– I went and looked up Art Halvorson who is mounting a primary run against Rep Shuster.

    Mr. Halvorson has actual proven leadership skills. I am right on the line and many of social network are still in Shuster’s District. I am going to light a fire under them and tell them there is a REAL choice now. Don’t lose it, you don’t know when it will come along again.

    You don’t have to stay with the same o same o because it’s comfortable. You can do better. Shuster Dynasty is now 40 years + now time to move it south to Bedford County.

  10. Murphy had a primary challenge in 2012 and won I personally campaigned against him. As bad as Murphy is his district isn’t nearly as conservative as Shuster’s but Shuster is to the left of even Murphy. His district is listed as R 10 on the Cook Political report. He needs to go

  11. Going down the list:
    Kelly – Safe
    Perry – Safe
    GT – Possibly vulnerable, but unlikely
    Gerlach – Could lose to a well funded conservative
    Meehan – Probably safe
    Fitzpatrick – Probably safe
    Shuster – Vulnerable. He is a moderate in the state’s most conservative district.
    Marino – Probably safe
    Barletta – Probably safe, but could lose to a high profile candidate
    Rothfus – Safe
    Dent – Possibly vulnerable, but his district seems to like him
    Pitts – Possibly vulnerable
    Murphy – Interesting. He should be more vulnerable than he is, but he has done a good job of pivoting to the right as his district became more conservative. He could be beat, but it would take a well-funded higher profile candidate to do so.

  12. If our original congressional forefathers could walk into Congress today, they would clean house !!! we are very far away from how they intended the country to be governed. Example: the borrower is America, the lender is other countries. Washington, Jefferson, et al would NEVER put themselves in the position we are in. I believe they would support Art Halvorson for his fiscal responsibility and Bible based decisions.

  13. Shuster is a good congressman. Conservative wack jobs need to stop nominating candidates that lose general elections. Their MO seems to hand seats back to democrats because of the lunatics they support

  14. I live in Lou Barletta’s District in Central PA Cumberland County. I like his style, his policy making. He is coming to his own. I like seeing him blossom. He’s got my support and footwork to help conter anyone who tries to challenge him from our area. Our family will stand for him loudly.

  15. Bill Shuster is a nice man but relatively useless to the 9th district. He is to soft on immigration reform, loves to spend someone else’s money and believes that earmarks are what makes congress work when in fact they are a big part of what makes congress not work for the people. He is beholding to many special interests that do not represent the best interests of his district.
    We need term limits and voting out ineffective representatives is the next best thing.

  16. Shuster and Thompson haven’t had an origin idea between them since they went to Washington. If they have voted differently ever, please let me know what Bill that was. Both consistently vote for their CORPORATE BOSSES interests. Meanwhile not doing a thing for regular hard working middle class families who are still having a hard time in this economy. Both need to go.

  17. Bill Shuster is the only one on the list with a viable challenger.

    Art Halvorson has the backing of American Majority, a very effective grassroots organization, and, I expect, will raise enough money to get his message out.

    Bill Shuster is an ally of the unions and opposed eliminating Prevailing Wage from government transportation and other projects.

    [Transportation Committee Chair Bill Shuster joined with Bucks County Union Republican Mike Fitzpatrick, DelCo Union Republican Pat Meehan Establishment Republicans Jim Gerlach and 35 House Republicans along with every Democrat voted in defeat an amendment to an appropriations bill that would have repealed the 82-year old Davis-Bacon prevailing wages mandate for federal contractors. http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll191.xml

    Bill Shuster has voted for every increase in the Debt Ceiling since he inherited his dad’s district in 2000 taking office January 2001.
    http://www.conservativevotingrecords.com/member/pa-shuster-bill/
    Madison Project Index: “Shuster has represented the most conservative district in Pennsylvania for 11 years, yet he is just as liberal as the members from democrat-leaning districts. In 2011, he supported all the spending bills and the debt limit increase. In the past, he has voted for cash for clunkers, credit card regulations, and TARP. As one of the top members on the Transportation Committee, Shuster is a leading proponent of the current statist federal transportation policy that wastes money on mass transit and blocks devolution of transportation authority to the states. He is a big porker and advocate for high-speed rail. He was one of the biggest supporters of No Child Left Behind until it became very unpopular. He is a true red district statist.”
    http://www.conservativevotingrecords.com/member/pa-shuster-bill/

  18. Taking out Murphy is more wishful thinking than reality. Before redistricting, when his district was only 30 some odd % republican, he carried 55-60% of the vote. With redistricting, he has gained republicans. He has survived national moods against republicans, local scandals, and being targeted by the DCCC. Tim Murphy is not going anywhere in a general election. In a primary, Tim answers to a far right leaning group that is growing more and more conservative. That said, he moderates his votes quite well. Sticking with the majority as much as possible, but breaking when it is in the best interest of his district or when he really, really needs a check on a union score card. His departure from the majority tends to be on job related issues and not the social issues that make republicans a sitting duck in primaries. Going up against Tim in a primary is a long shot at the very least.

  19. The 9th is problematic, per Guzzardi:

    “Most of the Republican US House delegation (start with US Rep. Bill Shuster) subscribes to a soft socialism as does the vast majority of Pennsylvania House and Senate members.”

  20. Lou Barletta is a sitting duck in a primary against a well funded populist/center right challenger. His district was drawn to make him invincible in a general, but that couldn’t be done without making him extremely vulnerable to a central PA conservative. There are way too few Republicans in Barletta’s Hazleton base to save him against someone from central PA. Barletta’s problem is similar to what Tim Holden faced. Holden was given a district that made him impossible to to beat in a general, but Matt Cartwright never got the memo that no one was supposed to challenge Holden in a primary.

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