Unrest Does Little to Rattle Pennsylvania’s Mail-Heavy Primary

A Pennsylvania voter checks in with an election worker before casting her ballot for the state primary in Philadelphia on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

PHILADELPHIA (CN) — In a closely watched Pennsylvania primary race, Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick appears Wednesday to have beaten back a challenge from a conservative, pro-Trump opponent.

With 99.14% of Bucks County’s 1st Congressional District reporting, Fitzpatrick has 56.73% of the vote to the 43.27% held by Andrew Meehan.

Fitzpatrick, who classifies himself as “an independent voice for the people,” will go up in November against former Ivyland Councilwoman Christina Finello, who swept the Democratic primary race against her opponent, Skyler Hurwitz — 77.42% to 22.58% of the vote with 99.14% reporting.

The race is closer in the Scranton area’s 8th Congressional District, where former Trump appointee Jim Bognet looks to be leading among the six Republicans who hope to unseat Democrat Matt Cartwright in November.

Touting himself as a bipartisan lawmaker, Cartwright has served since 2013. While Bognet has 28% of the vote as of Wednesday morning, veteran Teddy Daniels follows at a close second with 27% of the vote.

Meanwhile in Lehigh County’s 7th Congressional District, congressional hopeful Lisa Scheller had 51.5% of the Republican vote to Dean Browning’s 48.2%. Both are vocal supporters of President Donald Trump, but the president has endorsed Scheller, who inherited the family business, Silberline Manufacturing, a local aluminum pigments company.

Lehigh’s incumbent Congresswoman Susan Wild was elected in a 2018 special election to finish out the term of retired Democrat Charlie Dent.

In the 10th Congressional District, Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale will run in the fall against Republican Scott Perry. With 100% reporting, DePasquale beat out Democrat attorney Tom Brier with 62.7% to 37.3% of the vote.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the primary was the first in state history in which voters could vote by mail without providing a reason. On Monday Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order for Allegheny, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties to count all mail-in ballots received by mail until 5 p.m. June 9 — one week after the election — as long as the envelope is postmarked no later than Election Day. State officials expect most ballots were cast by mail. 

President Trump swept in the state’s Republican primary election, receiving 94.5% of votes, with roughly 80% of the votes counted as of Wednesday morning. 

With 69% of ballots counted in the Democratic Presidential Primary, former Vice President Joe Biden was declared the winner with 77.21% of the vote, followed by Bernie Sanders at 19.02% and Tulsi Gabbard at 3.77%.

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