Pennsylvania's new congressional map sets off a scramble for campaign cash

Conor Lamb, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, shows a copy of the Bible to members of the media in the speakers ceremonial room before a mock swearing-in with U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin, not pictured, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Thursday, April 12, 2018.

People in Pennsylvania might be confused about their new polling places after a massive new redrawing of the state’s electoral map. All but a handful of voters are now casting ballots in completely different districts.

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That confusion, however, may offer Democrats a chance to take control of a handful of Republican seats.

Thanks to a landmark, court-ordered redistricting that redrew the state’s congressional map in March, many of Pennsylvania’s House races this year have been upended by an unusual number of open seats due to resignations and retirements.

Seven of the state’s 18 incumbent members are no longer competing for their seats – and are no longer raising money for re-election bids. That has created a scramble for campaign cash among a large field of challengers.

The big money race in Pennsylvania will be run in the 17th District, thanks to the presence of two well-funded incumbents who landed in the same district

Democrat Conor Lamb, who defeated Rick Saccone in a special election last month, pulled in $6.6 million – much of it from donors a across the country looking to secure a win for Democrats – and has more than $1.7 million left for the general campaign.

His GOP rival, Keith Rothfus, who currently represents the old 12th District, enters the general campaign with about $1.6 million.

Here’s how the rest of the most competitive Pennsylvania districts are shaping up after Tuesday primary results

Democrat Scott Wallace easily overcame a challenge from two party rivals for the nomination in Pennsylvania’s 1st District. The newly drawn district overlaps much of the old Pennsylvania 8th, which is represented by GOP incumbent Brian Fitzpatrick, who won his party’s nomination Tuesday night.

But Wallace spent heavily going into the primary, leaving him with about a quarter of the cash on hand as the two candidates enter the general election.

The new 5th District, which overlaps much of the old 7th, became an open race when 7th District GOP incumbent Patrick Meehan resigned last month amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

The race drew a crowded field of Democratic challengers, led by Mary Gay Scanlon, who defeated her two rivals Tuesday night after raising more cash than them. She enters the general election with a slightly bigger campaign fund than her GOP rival, Pearl Kim, who ran unopposed in the primary.

Democrat Chrissy Houlahan was uncontested against Republican Greg McCauley after incumbent Republican Ryan Costello announced in March that he was not seeking re-election. That leaves the Democrats with a strong fundraising edge in this district, which is being targeted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Democrats also have an opening in the new 7th District, which takes in much of the old 15th District, where incumbent Republican Charlie Dent announced last fall that he would retire effective last week. In the GOP primary, Marty Nothstein held a slight edge over Dean Browning, while Democrat Susan Wild won the Democratic nomination.

So far, Democrats have outraised Republicans in this race overall. This district is also on the Democrats’ target list.

Both parties are targeting the new 8th District, which now includes much of the old 17th District, where incumbent Democrat Matthew Cartwright has held the seat since 2013. Cartwright won Tuesday nomination to run in the new 8th unopposed. He’ll face Republican John Chrin, who has raised a comparable pile of campaign cash for the general election.

Though this district has been considered safe for Republicans, Saccone’s defeat leaves his party at something of a funding disadvantage as the general election kicks off. Saccone had spent most of the nearly $2 million he raised from GOP donors to fund his primary campaign.

His successful GOP rival, Guy Reschenthaler, now faces Democratic nominee Bibiana Boerio. Both candidates have less than $50,000 in cash on hand as the general race begins.

Source: CNBC