Republican Keller Wins U.S. House Election in Pennsylvania

May 22, 2019 by Dan McCue
Representative-elect Fred Keller talks to the media on special election day in Pennsylvania. (Photo via Twitter)

Fred Keller, a Republican state representative backed by President Donald Trump, defeated Marc Friedenberg, a Democrat and professor at Penn State University, in a special election Tuesday to fill a vacancy in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District.

According to a vote count tabulated by the Associated Press, Keller garnered 68.1 percent of the vote — 89,176 votes of the 130,970 votes case — while Friedenberg came away with 31.9 percent of the vote, representing the support of 41,794 voters.

The special election was held to fill the seat of former GOP Representative Tom Marino, who abruptly resigned from Congress in January to take a job in the private sector.

“Having spent over two decades serving the public, I have chosen to take a position in the private sector where I can use both my legal and business experience to create jobs around the nation,” Marino said in a statement at the time.

The district, which covers northeastern and central parts of the state, was redrawn by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 2018 after a previous district map was declared unconstitutional due to gerrymandering.

Formerly, most of the district was part of Pennsylvania’s solidly Republican 10th congressional district, and the new 12th congressional district remained favorable for the GOP.

The 2018 Cook Partisan Voter Index for this district was R+6, meaning that in the previous two presidential elections, this district’s results were 6 percentage points more Republican than the national average.

The district voted overwhelmingly for Trump in the 2016 election, 66 percent to 30 percent, over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

In 2012, Mitt Romney bested President Barack Obama in what was then the 10th congressional district, 58 percent to 40 percent, and in 2008, Senator John McCain beat Senator Barack Obama by a margin of 54 percent to 45 percent.

Trump traveled to the district on Monday for a campaign rally that reinforced the widely held belief that Pennsylvania will be a critical Electoral College battleground in 2020.

Keller, who shared the stage with Trump at the rally in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, assured the president that the state’s “support for you is as strong today as it ever was.”

“In 2016, Pennsylvania put Donald Trump over the top. And in 2020, we’re going to do it again,” Keller said.

Trump also recorded a robocall for Keller and on Tuesday tweeted “Fred is Strong on Crime, Second Amendment, Military, Vets, and Healthcare. He has my Complete and Total Endorsement!”

Keller’s victory filled one of the three vacant seats in the House.

The other two are in North Carolina, which will fill seats it the state’s 3rd and 9th congressional districts in elections on Sept. 10.

Other Results

In other Pennsylvania election news Tuesday, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney handily won the Democratic primary in the nation’s sixth largest city, defeating two challengers.

Republican Billy Ciancaglini ran unopposed in the GOP primary.

The victory all but assures Kenney will stay on as mayor in Philadelphia, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a nearly 7-to-1 ratio.

“Serving as your mayor has been the greatest honor of my life,” Kenney told supporters at his election-night party at the National Museum of American Jewish History. “There’s something special about being mayor when you walk into a pre-K classroom and see how a quality education serves our children.”

Philadelphia voters also overwhelmingly approved four proposed charter amendments on Tuesday. These included the creation of a new class of law officer dedicated to traffic enforcement, the use of gender-neutral language for City Council and its members; making permanent the Office of Immigrant Affairs, created by executive order in 2016; and urging the state legislature to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Judicial Contests

On the judicial front, Democrats Amanda Green-Hawkins, a Pittsburgh lawyer, and Philadelphia Judge Daniel McCaffery won spots on the fall ballot in Tuesday’s primary election for the state Superior Court, as did Republicans Megan King, a Chester County prosecutor, and Cumberland County Judge Christylee Peck.

The 15-seat Superior Court is the state’s mid-level appellate court and handles civil and criminal appeals from county courts.

Turnout for Tuesday’s contests surpassed the 2017 primary and general elections, as well as the 2018 primary election.

More than 237,000 people across Pennsylvania voted on election day, with absentee ballots still to be counted. In the 2015 primary election, 269,635 people voted; in the 2017 primary, 210,838 people voted.


Pelosi, Democrats Renew Push to Overhaul Election, Campaign Finance Laws
Pelosi, Democrats Renew Push to Overhaul Election, Campaign Finance Laws

WASHINGTON — Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday she would press ahead early next year with a campaign finance and elections overhaul, even as the measure may face the same Senate fate it did this Congress: doom. House Democrats passed their signature overhaul measure in March 2019 and dubbed it HR 1, indicating its priority. Senate... Read More

Turmoil Hits Cybersecurity Agency Engaged in Election as Staffers Leave
Turmoil Hits Cybersecurity Agency Engaged in Election as Staffers Leave

WASHINGTON — Key officials at the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency are stepping down or expecting to get fired from their roles as President Donald Trump continues to question the results of the Nov. 3 election, saying he was the victim of a fraudulent voting process. Christopher Krebs, the head of CISA... Read More

Gen Z Voters Maintain Faith in Democracy, Despite Election Concerns
Gen Z Voters Maintain Faith in Democracy, Despite Election Concerns
November 12, 2020
by Sara Wilkerson

WASHINGTON - In a Georgetown University focus group webinar of voters from Generation Z, the first-time voters expressed their excitement over participating in the democratic process, while at the same time voiced concerns about various influences on the election. The focus group explored how the youngest... Read More

States Expanded Voting Access for the Pandemic. The Changes Might Stick
States Expanded Voting Access for the Pandemic. The Changes Might Stick

ANCASTER, Pa. — With one envelope slicer, three ballot scanners and around 175 people, it took election officials roughly 37 consecutive hours to process 91,000 mail-in ballots in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. "It's taking a little longer to scan than we had hoped," said Randall Wenger, chief clerk of the... Read More

Lawyers' Group Reports 'No Systemic Problems'
Lawyers' Group Reports 'No Systemic Problems'

Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said Tuesday that the election so far appears to be successful in terms of in-person voting despite some isolated incidents. Voters at on Missouri polling location were asked about their COVID testing status, Clarke said, and at... Read More

Trump Fends Off Biden in Texas, But Too Many States Are Still Up for Grabs for a Verdict
2020 Elections
Trump Fends Off Biden in Texas, But Too Many States Are Still Up for Grabs for a Verdict

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump survived a scare in Texas, though Election Day ended without a verdict on whether his tumultuous presidency will continue for another term — or the huge blue wave that Joe Biden's supporters had hoped for. The former vice president held a substantial lead in national polls before the polls opened... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top