What are our predictions for the 2020 Pennsylvania House races?
No, we’re not asking you, we’re telling you. That’s why we write these. When we did this in 2018, after a wave of redistricting rebalanced the political playing field in Pennsylvania, we saw a number of Democratic gains on their way. This also resulted in many fewer squiggly district lines and more shapes that followed county borders. Seats that were marginally Republican prior to redistricting became Democratic slam dunks, while other GOP seats around the state were bolstered.
Some might say that a gerrymander was undone, and others will point out that there are now fewer competitive seats in Pennsylvania. They could both be correct. Today, there are nine Republicans and nine Democrats representing the Keystone State. How will this map look in 2020? Read on and find out our 18 US House predictions.
PA US House Rating Scale
The chart below illustrates our scale for rating the 2020 Pennsylvania House races, and there are zero tossups.
2020 Pennsylvania House Races Current Prediction Summary: May 23
Current Pennsylvania US House Map
The 1st District and its previous iterations are not only traditionally Republican, but marginal seats. This district is not a landslide maker but Bucks County (and a little of Montgomery) is always in play, but the result tends to be the same. Brian Fitzpatrick will have to work for his re-election but for now, we put him ahead.
As a rule, any district touching Philadelphia is going to be “safe” or “very safe” for the Democrats. Hillary Clinton got over 80 percent of the vote in said city so we wouldn’t count on any district that’s a part of it going red.
This Philly district is one of the most Democratic seats in the country. No doubt about the outcome here.
The new 4th District soaks up many of the MontCo suburbs of Philadelphia, which have for a little while been blue areas. We’re not seeing a Republican comeback around here.
Pennsylvania’s 5th District was one of the more shocking redistricting transformations in the commonwealth. Similar to what is happening in the 2nd District of North Carolina this year, this went from a competitive suburban seat into a safe Democratic district.
The 6th was another story of transformation, and another flip in 2018 that got a big boost from redistricting. As designed, this seat is not thoroughly blue on every level, but we also do not think Chrissy Houlahan is in for a major fight in 2020.
Of the 2020 Pennsylvania House races, Pennsylvania’s 7th is a lot like what the current 1st is. This seat centers on the Lehigh Valley, meaning Allentown, Bethlehem, and surrounding towns. With the exception of Pat Toomey, it’s the sort of place where you might get a moderate Republican or a moderate Democrat over the last few decades. On the presidential level, it tends to be competitive as well. Calling Susan Wild “safe” might be too much but she is in a good spot.
Having Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in his seat is going to help Matt Cartwright and possibly put him over the top, but the 8th has some red areas as well. Again, “safe” is too strong a term but it’s likely Cartwright is ahead.
Now we are starting to get into the interior of Pennsylvania, which we all know is where the Republican votes are. Dan Meuser will have no problems.
Harrisburg’s district, the 10th, is one of the few competitive races in the commonwealth this time. Scott Perry did not get by in 2018 by much, and this time, he’s got the state auditor running against him. Perry may be the most endangered incumbent in Pennsylvania in 2020 but absent any real-world data yet, we are tipping the scales to the incumbent for the time being.
The 11th District is home to Amish country, and as it has been many times in the past, it will be red again in 2020.
We’re getting deep into the “T” of Pennsylvania, which as keen minds know is about as Republican as it gets anywhere in the Northeast. Assuming, of course, that you call Pennsylvania the “Northeast” and not the “Mid-Atlantic.” Fred Keller, who first took a special election victory, will be re-elected in spite of Democratic votes in and around State College.
Another district in the “T,” this time going down into the Altoona area, and another GOP win incoming for John Joyce.
While districts in the Philly area were being redrawn much more Democratic, Republicans were thrown a bone with the 14th in southwestern PA. Guy Reschenthaler flipped it in 2018 and he is on his way to another win this year.
Back up into the “T” and another massive GOP victory about to happen for Glenn Thompson.
Mike Kelly represents the part of Pennsylvania that shoots up to Erie, and while he has succeeded here, is it the most Republican seat you’ll find? No, but its tendencies are more GOP than not. Kelly also has not drawn any top-tier challengers so we think he is in good shape.
Conor Lamb’s flip of a House seat in 2018 was a sign of a coming wave. His district was made more Democratic in redistricting, but it’s still not that Democratic. This is the sort of seat he’ll hold in a good Democratic year and have trouble getting re-elected if and when the pendulum swings back.
Mike Doyle has represented Pittsburgh for ages and has nothing to worry about in 2020.