Former Rep. Hoeffel Sees Opportunity in New Pennsylvania Map

Ex-Democratic congressman running in newly redrawn 4th District

Former Pennsylvania Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel is seeking a congressional comeback, announcing a run for the newly drawn 4th District. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

After more than a decade away from national politics, former Democratic Rep. Joseph M. Hoeffel sees a new opportunity in Pennsylvania, where the state Supreme Court handed down new district lines last month that mitigate the Republicans’ advantage.

Hoeffel represented the Keystone State’s old 13th District from 1999 to 2004 before unsuccessfully running for Senate seat in 2004. In 2010, he lost a bid for governor.

Now he’s running for the newly redrawn 4th District in the Philadelphia suburbs.

“My wife said to me the other day, ‘Honey, you’ve got to stop yelling at the television at Donald Trump. You need to run for office again,’” Hoeffel told WHYY News.

The time away from Washington has allowed him to reflect on how to be a better lawmaker the next time around, he said.

“I’ve had a chance to step back from the day-to-day of government and I think I have a different and better perspective than I did before,” Hoeffel said. “Frankly, I think I’d be a better congressman if I’m lucky enough to be re-elected.”

Since his last Washington stint, Hoeffel, 67, has taught at Temple University and written two books. The latest, “Fighting for the Progressive Center in the Age of Trump,” is about saving American politics from extreme polarization.

Watch: Three Things to Watch In Pennsylvania’s Special Election

Hoeffel will square off in the May 15 primary against three other Democrats: gun control activist Shira Goodman and state Reps. Madeleine Dean and Mary Jo Daley.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates Pennsylvania’s 4th District race as Solid Democratic. Democrats currently hold just five of the state’s 18 House seats. Analysts expect them to pick up at least a few seats in November after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the old GOP-drawn boundaries were unconstitutional and handed down a new map. 

Hoeffel will need to collect 1,000 signatures by the March 20 filing deadline to have his name added to the May primary ballot.

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