Women have a good chance to win several House seats in Pennsylvania — a state represented by all men

Key Points
  • After Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary elections, women appear to have a good chance of winning several congressional seats in the state.
  • No women currently represent Pennsylvania in Congress.
  • Democrats hope to pick up multiple GOP-held seats in the state as they try to take a House majority after November's midterm elections.
Chrissy Houlahan for Congress.
Source: Chriss Houlahan for Congress

More women are running for Congress this year than ever before — and they saw encouraging results in battleground Pennsylvania's primaries.

After Tuesday's elections, at least three women appear to be favorites in November's House races. No women currently represent the swing state in the House or Senate.

The results reflect a broader trend in this year's midterm elections: 385 women have filed to run for House seats, shattering the previous record of 298 set in 2012, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Women currently hold about 20 percent of the 535 House and Senate seats, but November's results could bring Congress a little closer to reflecting the broader American population.

Women projected to win Tuesday's primaries in Pennsylvania will play a major role in the battle for control of the House in November. Democratic women will run in several GOP-held districts the party aims to win as it tries to take a House majority.

Some of those candidates will get a boost from a new congressional map that made several districts more favorable to Democrats. The state Supreme Court threw out Republican-drawn congressional districts earlier this year, over objections from the state GOP.

  • PA 5th District: Attorney Mary Gay Scanlon won the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania's 5th District. She will face Republican Pearl Kim, a former state prosecutor who ran unopposed Tuesday. Scanlon enters as a favorite to win the general election, which will not feature an incumbent. GOP Rep. Pat Meehan resigned following the revelation of a taxpayer-funded settlement of a staffer's sexual harassment claim against him. The Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index, which gauges how areas voted in recent presidential elections relative to the country as a whole, rates the redrawn 5th District as "D+13." Cook, a nonpartisan site, lists the seat as "likely Democratic."
  • PA 6th District: Chrissy Houlahan, a businesswoman who served in the Air Force Reserve, ran unopposed to win the Democratic nomination in the state's 6th District. She will run against GOP nominee Greg McCauley, an attorney. The race also lacks an incumbent after Republican Rep. Ryan Costello declined to run for re-election. The redrawn district is a "D+2" area, according to Cook's PVI. The election analysis site considers Houlahan the favorite, rating the seat "likely Democratic."
  • PA 7th District: Former Allentown Solicitor Susan Wild won a heated Democratic primary for the 7th District. She is expected to beat Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, whom many Democrats considered too far to the right, and Greg Edwards, a pastor endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. Marty Nothstein, a Lehigh County commissioner and former Olympic cyclist, declared victory Tuesday night in the district's GOP primary amid a tight race. In the 7th District, Democrats also got a boost from the new congressional map. It is a "D+1" seat now, according to Cook's PVI. Republican Rep. Charlie Dent, considered a moderate, recently resigned from his seat. Cook rates it as a district that leans Democratic, while another nonpartisan handicapper, Sabato's Crystal Ball, considers it a toss-up.
  • PA 4th District: State Rep. Madeleine Dean won the Democratic primary for the 4th District. Businessman Dan David ran uncontested in the GOP primary. Dean appears to have a good chance of breaking up Pennsylvania's all-male congressional delegation. Election analysis sites rate the 4th District as a solidly Democratic seat.