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DelVal Candidates Didn’t Fare Well in Tuesday’s Primaries

With the exception of the Democratic race for state auditor general, candidates from the Delaware Valley were wiped out in Tuesday’s statewide primaries.

And there may also be a red flag for Donald Trump in the Delaware Valley’s presidential primary results.

The Democratic and Republican primaries for state attorney general were the most high-profile races, and they featured five candidates from southeastern Pennsylvania.

Former Auditor Eugene DePasquale emerged as the winner over four candidates with DelVal ties on the Democrat side. DePasquale, a Pittsburgh native who also served in the state House, gathered more than 34 percent of the vote.

“Democrats across the state made me the nominee, and I’m looking forward to the fight ahead,” said DePasquale after his win.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer came in second, while Bucks County Solicitor Joe Khan finished third. Kier Bradford-Grey, who was chief defender for Montgomery County and Philadelphia, was fourth, while Northeast Philly state Rep. Jared Solomon was fifth.

The Pennsylvania Democratic Party did not endorse an attorney general candidate in the primary.

State Rep. Craig Williams (R-Delaware) lost his bid for the GOP attorney general nomination to York County District Attorney Dave Sunday, who secured almost 70 percent of the vote. Williams argued for a tougher approach to crime, while Sunday encouraged redemption and reduced recidivism.

Sunday, the state GOP’s endorsed candidate, said voters understand that his policies work better. “We have to hold people accountable. But on the other end of it, we have to embrace redemption as a society.”

Williams will not be leaving politics. In November, he’ll be on the ballot for his seat in the state House. His Democratic opponent is real estate broker Elizabeth Moro.

State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia) defeated Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley in the Democratic primary for auditor general with almost 62 percent of the vote.

Kenyatta was considered the frontrunner in the race and had the backing of the state Democratic Party. He thinks that he’ll win in November over Republican incumbent Auditor General Tim DeFoor despite not having an auditing background. “I am confident that when voters look at our record, they will choose me to be their next auditor general,” Kenyatta said.

The biggest surprise of Tuesday night was Erin McClelland’s win over Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie) in the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania treasurer. McClelland, a small business owner and former substance abuse counselor in West Pennsylvania, won 52.7 percent of the vote, compared to Bizzarro’s 44.3 percent. Bizarro outraised McClelland by more than $200,000 and had support from the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

McClelland faces incumbent Republican Treasurer Stacy Garrity, who ran unopposed.

In local Delaware Valley races, incumbent Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick sailed past pro-life activist Mark Houck in the primary with more than 60 percent of the vote. He credited the community for valuing collaboration and bipartisanship. “Our community is not far-left or far-right; we are centrist and pragmatic,” he said.

Houck claimed to have received encouragement from top House Republicans, including Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.), for his run against Fitzpatrick. Johnson refuted the claim.

It was also a primary fight that featured meddling by California Democrats. A group called True Patriot PA sent mailers that attacked Fitzpatrick while boosting Houck. That group’s treasurer was Meagan Olson, who also handled the books for Rep. Eric Swalwell’s (D-Calif.) campaign.

Republicans said that it’s proof that Democrats are desperate.

“[Democrats’] lame attempt to prop up a serial liar failed miserably and showed just how desperate they are to force their extreme values on Pennsylvania voters,” said National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson Mike Marinella. “Rep. Fitzpatrick will win this November and continue his hard work fighting for Pennsylvanians.”

Fitzpatrick will face Democrat Ashley Ehasz in November. It’s a rematch of the 2022 race the incumbent won by 10 points.

And while both President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have already secured their party’s nomination and all of their opponents have dropped out, there was a surprise in one “zombie” candidacy.

Though she dropped out of the race after Super Tuesday, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley received 16.4 percent of the Republican presidential primary vote. Most significantly, noted the Cook Political Report, she got about a quarter of the GOP vote in Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties. These are counties where Republicans have struggled and where Trump needs to keep the margin close in order to win in November.

Biden received nearly 90 percent of the vote statewide, with most of the rest going to U.S. Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.)

DelVal’s other congressional representatives, Madeleine Dean, Chrissy Houlahan, and Mary Gay Scanlon, ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. Dean’s Republican challenger is David Winkler, while Scanlon’s GOP opponent is Alfeia Goodwin. Houlahan gets Republican Neil Young.

One Western Pennsylvania race that received attention was incumbent Rep. Summer Lee’s (D-Pittsburgh) victory over Bhavini Patel. Lee, a member of the “Squad,” received criticism over her stance on the Israel-Hamas War. She’s backed a ceasefire and planned to appear at a Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) dinner in Philadelphia. Lee eventually canceled. A top CAIR executive praised Hamas for its terrorist attack on Israel last October.

There was also no contest in the state’s most high-profile race. Both Republican Dave McCormick and Democrat incumbent Bob Casey Jr. ran unopposed in Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate race.

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