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PA Primary: A Night of Upsets

Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary election was full of upsets.

In northeastern Pennsylvania alone two incumbent state representatives and a 20-year veteran in Congress were unseated by political newcomers.

There are a lot of things that could lose you an election, campaigning, TV advertisements, redistricting, but the political expert Newswatch 16 spoke to Wednesday said the biggest reason why so many incumbents lost their races Tuesday night was because of voter sentiment.

Ten term Congressman Tim Holden didn’t fare well in his newly configured 17th Congressional District. Holden lost by almost 10,000 votes to someone brand new to the political scene, lawyer Matt Cartwright.

Cartwright’s win in the Pennsylvania primary was one of a few races that could be classified as an upset.

Political expert and University of Scranton Professor William Parente said you can blame many factors for Holden’s defeat, but there is one that is making a lot of incumbents stand up and listen.

“I think there’s a general anti-incumbency feeling on the part of people. They’re not impressed with what the Congress is doing in Washington and they’re not terribly impressed with what the legislature is doing in Harrisburg and these are the people who are potential victims in this particular primary,” said Professor Parente.

There were many incumbent victims in the northeast.

Newcomer Kevin Haggerty won the nomination for state representative in the 112th District beating incumbent Ken Smith. Another newcomer, Marty Flynn, beat out State Representative Kevin Murphy, and Frank Farina defeated another long-time politician, Randy Castellani.

As far as an anti-incumbency feeling at the state level, Dr. Parente said there is guilt by association. He added that there may be some downsides to losing so many incumbent politicians.

“The negative to Holden losing is that he was our senior Congressman in Washington, so Pennsylvania loses a good amount of clout,” Parente added.

Many of Tuesday night’s upsets happened on the Democratic ticket. Those winners will run against the Republican nominees in the general election in November.



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