Tuesday’s House Primaries Prelude to Competitive Fall Matchups in Pa.

Posted May 19, 2010 at 12:04am

Rep. Joe Sestak’s defeat of Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic Senate primary and Democrat Mark Critz’s special election victory took the lion’s share of attention in Tuesday’s balloting in Pennsylvania, but voters in a handful of Keystone State districts also set up competitive House matchups for November.

Here’s a look at House races in Pennsylvania worth watching this fall:

3rd district (Northwest — Erie)

Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D) will face businessman Mike Kelly (R) in her bid for a second term. Dahlkemper beat one primary opponent with 73 percent and Kelly beat five opponents with 28 percent.

4th district (West — Pittsburgh suburbs)

Two-term Rep. Jason Altmire (D) will face Keith Rothfus. Rothfus, a lawyer and former federal homeland security official, trounced former federal prosecutor Mary Beth Buchanan, who was the initial favorite of GOP operatives, 67 percent to 33 percent.

6th district (Southeast — parts of Berks and Chester counties, Philadelphia suburbs)

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R) won 80 percent of the vote and will face Democratic physician Manan Trivedi, who beat Doug Pike, a former newspaper editorial writer, 51 percent to 49 percent with all precincts reporting.

7th district (suburban Philadelphia — most of Delaware County)

Neither former federal prosecutor Pat Meehan (R) nor state Rep. Bryan Lentz (D) faced primary opposition in their quest for the seat Sestak is giving up to run for Senate.

8th district (northern Philadelphia suburbs — Bucks County)

Former Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, the runaway winner of a four-candidate Republican primary, will face sophomore Rep. Patrick Murphy (D), who unseated Fitzpatrick in 2006. Murphy has already challenged Fitzpatrick to debate.

10th district (Northeast — Central Susquehanna Valley)

Tom Marino (R), a former federal prosecutor, will face sophomore Rep. Christopher Carney (D) after topping two opponents with 41 percent of the vote.

11th district (Northeast — Scranton, Wilkes-Barre)

Thirteen-term Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D), the most senior member of the state’s House delegation, won just 49 percent of the primary vote in a three-way race and faces a tough rematch with Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta, who was unopposed in the GOP primary.

12th district (Southwest — Johnstown)

Critz and Republican businessman Tim Burns will square off in a rematch after they won primaries that coincided with their much-higher-profile special election, which Critz won 53 percent to 45 percent.

15th district (East — Allentown, Bethlehem)

Three-term Rep. Charlie Dent (R) won 82 percent of the primary vote and will face Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan (D), who was unopposed in his party’s primary. This race is expected to be highly competitive in November.

17th district (East central — Harrisburg, Lebanon, Pottsville)

It’s looking like nine-term Rep. Tim Holden (D), who won his primary Tuesday with 67 percent of the vote, will face state Sen. Dave Argall, who led a four-candidate GOP race by 929 votes with all precincts reporting.