Feb. 14, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Which Pennsylvania Candidates Will Weather the Storm?

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Although veteran Rep. Tim Holden boasts the backing of several well-known Democrats, he faces a difficult primary today in a district that is almost 80 percent new turf for him.

Despite this cash infusion, the Congressman has been outspent in the district. Cartwright has put almost $400,000 of his own money into his campaign, plus outside groups such as the League of Conservation Voters and a Texas-based super PAC kicked in a combined $300,000 to attack Holden.

Meanwhile, Republicans are monitoring three primaries: the race for retiring Rep. Todd Platts’ south-central seat, Rep. Tim Murphy’s intraparty challenge in the southwestern corner of the state and the wide-open race to select a nominee to face Casey.

“The big one, obviously, is the U.S. Senate race,” Pennsylvania Republican strategist Charlie Gerow said. “I think that’s boiled down to a three-horse contest between the two millionaires at polar sides of the state and Sam Rohrer in the middle.”

Former coal company executive Tom Smith, who has spent millions blanketing TV airwaves, has the edge in the Senate primary. The winner faces an uphill battle against Casey this fall.

Smith has spent more than $3.7 million on the race and loaned his campaign almost $5 million in personal funds.

But while Smith has the financial edge, businessman Steven Welch has the support of top GOP officials in the state, including Gov. Tom Corbett. Welch won the state party’s endorsement earlier this year, too.

Rohrer, a former state Representative, has support from many grass-roots activists. But he has only raised a fraction of the money that the other two candidates have.

In southwestern Pennsylvania, Murphy is on track to win his primary easily. Conservative activists were initially excited about his opponent, former U.S. Senate aide Evan Feinberg, but he could not raise enough money to give Murphy a formidable challenge.

“I think Tim Murphy will not only survive but win handily,” Gerow said. “The candidate they ran against him was apparently a nice guy but just moved back into the district.”

Finally, in south-central Pennsylvania, the GOP primary to succeed Platts has boiled down to two frontrunners: state Rep. Scott Perry and York County Commissioner Chris Reilly.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) supported and campaigned for Reilly frequently during the campaign. Reilly had a financial advantage, too, but Perry had more support from other Republicans — including Corbett.

The winner of the GOP primary is expected to become the next Member of Congress. The redrawn 4th district is a safe GOP seat.

The polls close at 8 p.m. today, according to a spokesman from the elections department at the Pennsylvania Department of State.

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