Updated: Sep 18, 2022
By Blake Fox
In 2020, nearly all eyes have been on the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter protests, and the 2020 Presidential election. At the same time, hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent on primary elections, which decide party nominees.
In Pennsylvania, hundreds of state, local, and federal positions were all up for grabs. Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District, which consists of all of Bucks County and parts of Montgomery County, voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 but is currently represented by a moderate Republican, Brian Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick, who has been willing to criticize President Trump, faced Andy Meehan, the President of an investment firm, who was running on a pro-Trump platform. However, Fitzpatrick was able to fend off Meehan and will face Christina Finello, the Bucks County Deputy Director of Housing and Human Services, in the General Election. Similarly, Eugene DePasquale, Pennsylvania’s current Auditor General, was able to fend off progressive challenger Tom Brier to win the Democratic Primary in Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District. In the coming general election, voters in Dauphin and parts of Cumberland County will choose between DePasquale and current representative, Scott Perry. A slew of Democratic candidates, including Pittsburgh’s City Controller, Michael Lamb, and State Representative, H. Scott Conklin, aimed to replace DePasquale as Auditor General. However, it was Nina Ahmad, the former deputy mayor of Philadelphia, who ended up winning the nomination with a little over 36% of the vote.
Nationally, Jamaal Bowman, a middle school principal, turned heads when he defeated 31-year incumbent and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, by about 25%. Progressive York City Councilman, Ritchie Torres, and Mondaire Jones, an attorney who worked in the Obama Justice Department, won open seats in New York. In Illinois, incumbent Dan Lipinski, a pro-life Democrat from suburban Chicago, was defeated by Progressive candidate Marie Newman. For some, the most shocking upset came when community activist Cori Bush defeated 9-term incumbent Lacy Clay in a Congressional race that covered parts of St. Louis, Missouri. The district was previously represented by Bill Clay from 1969-2001, who is Clay’s father. However, not all progressives were successful in their challenges against incumbents: Representative Jerry Nadler of New York, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, and Henry Cuellar of Texas all fought off progressive challengers. On the Republican side, freshman Representative Denver Riggleman lost his re-election bid in a convention to Bob Good, the former Athletics Director at Liberty University. Riggleman came under fire from GOP members after officiating at a gay wedding last year.
In 2020, Democrats also have their eyes on capturing a Senate Majority. Colorado Senator Cory Gardner is seen as the vulnerable Republican Senator, representing a state that has not voted Republican in a Presidential election since 2004. Gardner will face former Colorado Governor and 2020 Democratic Presidential candidate, John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper was able to beat out Andrew Romanoff, the former Speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, for the nomination. In Maine, Republican Senator Susan Collins is running for a 5th term and will face Sara Gideon, the Speaker of Maine’s House of Representatives. Other Senate races that could be close include Kentucky, Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Iowa, and Montana.
If Joe Biden is successful in defeating Donald Trump in the presidential election, Democratic control of Congress will be vital for passing legislative reforms and approving Judicial nominations.