Two PA Counties to Watch for Control of Congress

Lehigh County has a population of nearly 370,000 and houses Pennsylvania’s third-largest city – Allentown.

Luzerne County has just under 320,000 residents with Wilkes-Barre as its county seat.

They rank just 10th and 12th overall in population size in the Commonwealth. Together, they make up two of the most important counties in the country when looking at the 2022 general election.

POLITICO has tabbed Lehigh and Luzerne as two of the truly contested regions in America that will test President Joe Biden’s appeal with white-collar and working-class voters and may determine control of the U.S. Congress in January 2023.

Lehigh County

According to the most recent Department of State numbers, Lehigh has 234,551 registered voters – 110,507 Democrats, 81,661 Republicans and 42,383 others. That’s a 12-percent difference (47-35) for the Democrats, but shows 18 percent that are unaffiliated with either major party.

Lehigh Democrats have seen 595 voters switch to their party in 2022, but that pales in comparison to the GOP who has brought in 1,212 voters from other parties.

Lehigh is known for splitting tickets, backing centrists and voting on simple economic issues that affect the home. The county sent moderate Republican Charlie Dent to Washington for years and when he retired, Lehigh swung to the left and elected Democrat Susan Wild.

It is the race in PA-07 between Wild and GOP challenger Lisa Scheller that has drawn the most attention in the region. A rematch from 2020, Wild edged Scheller, 52-48, taking Lehigh County by 11,000 votes. Lehigh is the largest of the three counties that make up PA-07 which includes sections of Monroe and Northampton counties.

Scheller is slightly favored according to FiveThirtyEight.com.

Redistricting has tightened the gap in the district and may be the determining factor should the seat change hands.

Primary 2022

U.S. Senate Primary
(R) Mehmet Oz 31.53, Dave McCormick 31.50, Kathy Barnette 26.8
(D) John Fetterman 60.3, Conor Lamb 25.3

PA Governor Primary
(R) Doug Mastriano 39.5, Lou Barletta 27.1, Bill McSwain 16.4

Luzerne County

According to the most recent Department of State numbers, Luzerne has 202,481 registered voters – 93,204 Democrats, 83,055 Republicans and 26,222 others. That works out to a five-percent difference (46-41) for the Democrats but reveals 13 percent that has no allegiance to either major party.

Luzerne Republicans are making up ground, bringing in 2,081 voters from other parties in the first six months of the year, compared to just 400 for the Democrats.

Luzerne was one of three PA counties who backed Donald Trump in 2016 after supporting Barack Obama in the previous two presidential elections. It was the lone county to continue that trend in 2016, although by a smaller margin.

The campaign arm for House Democrats is spending $1.25 million in fall TV advertisement reservations in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, which incumbent Rep. Matt Cartwright represents. The campaign arm for House Republicans is spending $2.75 million in ad reservations in Wilkes-Barre.

FiveThirtyEight.com currently projects the PA-08 race between Cartwright and GOP challenger Jim Bognet as a toss-up. It is a rematch of the 2020 campaign that was decided by 1,712 votes.

The PA-09 race between Republican incumbent Dan Meuser and Democratic challenger Amanda Waldman is considered solidly R.

Primary 2022

U.S. Senate Primary
(R) Mehmet Oz 40.5, Dave McCormick 34.0, Kathy Barnette 16.9
(D) John Fetterman 68.7, Conor Lamb 22.0

PA Governor Primary
(R) Lou Barletta 70.1, Doug Mastriano 20.6

3 Responses

  1. Watch all counties in PA during elections, as you never know what dirty tricks the GOP will attempt to steal elections and repress voters.

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