Once considered a strong contender thanks to her Delaware Valley powerbase, Chester County U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D) announced Tuesday she is no longer considering a run for the U.S. Senate next year. Incumbent Republican Sen. Patrick Toomey is not seeking re-election.
“I have always challenged myself to try to find my ‘highest best use’ in service. I came to Washington to serve my community, commonwealth, and country at what I believe to be an existential inflection point for our nation,” said Houlahan.
“Over the past few months, I have considered whether that ‘highest best use’ should translate to a run for Senate. I have decided that my purpose in service at this time remains as the congresswoman for the great people of Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District.
“As we look toward redistricting and the 2022 races, it is crucial not only that Democrats retain control of the House but that we also succeed in expanding our majority in the Senate. I will do everything I can to make sure Pennsylvania proudly sends two Democrats to the Senate,” she said.
Berwood Yost, director of the Floyd Institute for Public Policy and Center for Opinion Research at Franklin & Marshall College said, “The Senate primary race is going to be tough for everyone involved that will require a good bit of fundraising and organizational skill. Rep Houlihan had a relatively easy double digit win in 2020 and although the boundaries of her district could change, a race in southeast Pennsylvania seems like an easier way to return to Washington than having to navigate a difficult, contested primary that, if she succeeds, would require competing in a midterm election against a Republican in what will be a difficult race.”
Houlahan was first elected to Congress in 2018. She was reelected in 2020. An Air Force veteran, she is also an engineer, entrepreneur, and educator according to her website. In addition to her work in the corporate world, Houlahan served a stint with Teach for America. In addition to most of Chester County, Houlahan’s district covers part of Berks County, including Reading.
As DVJournal reported last November, Houlahan had $3 million cash on hand at the end of the third quarter last year, a figure that put her in the top 5 percent of House members for cash on hand. It positions her alongside an upper crust of powerful House figures from both parties, like Republican Jim Jordan or New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The race for the open Senate seat has already attracted a long list of contenders from both parties, including Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Montgomery County Chairwoman Val Arkoosh on the Democratic side, and former congressional candidate and veteran Sean Parnell and real estate developer Jeff Bartos in the Republican camp.