The Philadelphia suburbs played a critical role in giving Democrats the majority in the 2006 elections. They are also part of the reason Democrats are still in the minority today.
Instead of controlling or targeting multiple seats in eastern Pennsylvania, Democratic efforts appear to be narrowing there. Democrats believe they have a top-tier recruit against Rep. Michael G. Fitzpatrick in the 8th District. But they are hardly talking up their chances against Reps. Jim Gerlach, Tom Marino, Lou Barletta and Charlie Dent.
Democrats would like to find a top-tier recruit against Rep. Patrick Meehan in the 7th District, but no one has materialized yet.
The 7th District is very competitive at the presidential level. Mitt Romney won it in 2012 with 50 percent, Barack Obama won it with 51 percent in 2008 and George W. Bush won it with 51 percent in 2004. But Meehan was re-elected easily last year by almost 20 percentage points and has proven to be a skilled politician.
If Democrats can uncover a stellar challenger, this could very well turn into a race. But the expensive Philadelphia media market makes it very difficult for a challenger to go from political unknown to top-tier candidate in a calendar year.
For these reasons, we are moving the race from Republican Favored to currently Safe Republican in The Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call ratings.