Pennsylvania primaries 2024: Lee and Fitzpatrick survive, matchups set for November

538 tracked congressional and downballot primary races in the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania is already in the thick of campaign season for November's presidential and U.S. Senate races, but on April 23, Democrats and Republicans in the Keystone State chose their candidates in a slate of other consequential races down the ballot this fall.

Among the key races to watch: a couple of incumbent House members — progressive Democrat Summer Lee and moderate Republican Brian Fitzpatrick — both fended off challengers from their right, and ballots are now set for a few other consequential contests that could help determine control of the House next year. Plus, some key battle lines for control of the state government in November are set, with the parties finalizing their candidates for attorney general, auditor, treasurer and both chambers of the state legislature.

538 reporters and contributors broke down the election results as they came in with live updates, analysis and commentary. Read our full live blog below.

That’s all she wrote in Pennsylvania

It’s a little after 11:20 p.m. Eastern, and every key race on our board has a result! Here’s a recap of what happened tonight in Pennsylvania:

In the solidly blue 12th District, ABC News reports progressive Democratic Rep. Summer Lee is projected to defeat Edgewood Borough Council member Bhavini Patel by about 20 percentage points, with 99 percent of the expected vote reporting. Lee’s win is an early indication that The Squad’s criticisms of Israel won’t necessarily weigh members down in the primaries to come this summer.

Meanwhile, in the 10th District, former news anchor Janelle Stelson is projected to win the Democratic primary with 44 percent against a field of five other candidates and 99 percent of the expected vote, ABC News reports. She’ll face Republican Rep. Scott Perry, a former chair of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus, in a slightly GOP-leaning seat that may be competitive.

In the 1st District, another seat that could be in play, Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick held off a challenge from the right in anti-abortion activist Mark Houck, leading by 26 points at this point with 91 percent of the expected vote. ABC News reports that Fitzpatrick is projected to win that race. Fitzpatrick will now face off against Democrat Ashley Ehasz, whom he defeated by 10 points in 2022, but it may very well be a closer race in this swingy district this time around.

And over in Eastern Pennsylvania, three Republicans squared off tonight for the opportunity to run against — and potentially unseat — three-term Democratic Rep. Susan Wild in the 7th District. But it was state Rep. Brian Mackenzie who came out on top and is projected to win according to reporting by ABC News. He’s currently leading with 42 percent of the vote, and 85 percent of the expected vote reporting, perhaps in part thanks to the nearly half a million dollars spent on his behalf by the Koch Brothers’ PAC. Mackenzie and Wild will now be gearing up for a tight race that is set to be one of the most competitive House races in the nation, so expect a lot of attention — and money — to be paid to Lehigh Valley.

Neither candidate faced primary opposition in the U.S. Senate contest today, meaning that Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. and former hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick will face off in November. In the open-seat race for state attorney general, former state Auditor Eugene DePasquale is projected to win a five-way Democratic primary, while York County District Attorney Dave Sunday is projected to handily win the Republican nomination, according to ABC News. In the contest for auditor general, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta is projected to defeat Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley in the Democratic primary and face incumbent Republican Tim DeFoor in the fall, according to the AP. And the race for state treasurer saw a bit of a surprise in the Democratic primary, as the AP projected that substance abuse and mental health counselor Erin McClelland will defeat state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro despite Bizzarro’s endorsement from the state party and sizable fundraising edge. McClelland will face incumbent Republican Stacy Garrity in November.

Finally, in notable races for the state House and Senate, we watched Democratic primaries in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas — which will set up key contests this fall, as Democrats fight to hold onto their narrow, one-vote majority in the state House and flip the Senate to secure a state government trifecta. Incumbents mostly fended off challenges from more progressive candidates in these races, notably Rep. Amen Brown in West Philadelphia, and Rep. Abigail Salisbury, who won against a Summer Lee-backed candidate, Ashley Comans.

—Geoffrey Skelley, Kaleigh Rogers, Monica Potts, 538

Final thought: I agree with Meredith

As Meredith said, I think the big takeaway for the night is that Republicans did not nominate some of their more extreme candidates. That was a losing strategy in 2022, and we may see more competitive statewide races as a result this fall.

The 1st District race I noted earlier is a good example: Anti-abortion Republicans suffered a notable loss with Houck's decisive defeat in favor of incumbent Fitzpatrick, one of the most moderate Republicans in the U.S. House. So far, abortion has been a winning issue for Democrats, and it’s likely to be a defining issue in the race this fall — so Republicans are likely glad Fitzpatrick prevailed in this purple district.

—Monica Potts, 538

Final thought: Did Pennsylvania Republicans learn from loss?

All told, the races today suggest that Republicans in Pennsylvania may be "learning from loss," as my fellow political scientist Seth Masket puts it. To “learn from loss” is to change tack after certain efforts proved failed. The failed effort in 2022 was when the GOP nominated Doug Mastriano for the governor's race, who proved to be too extreme for the state. In Pennsylvania today, the GOP avoided nominating some of the more extreme candidates on the ballot in the 1st and 7th Districts.

—Meredith Conroy, 538 contributor

Last big projections of the evening: McClelland secures the treasurer upset

In what look to be the last statewide or federal projections of the evening, ABC reports that Chris Dziados is projected to win the 14th Congressional District Democratic primary, which Geoff mentioned earlier. And in perhaps the surprise of the night, the AP has projected Erin McClelland as the winner in the Democratic primary for state treasurer. McClelland overcame what seemed like a prohibitive fundraising deficit to best the party’s preferred pick, state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro.

And with that, we're about ready to wrap up! We'll get you all a wrapup post shortly to recap the major outcomes, and let you go with an hour to spare before the clock strikes midnight.

Last call for hot Pennsylvania takes, everyone!

—Tia Yang, 538

Pennsylvania features the first real primary challenge against The Squad

The war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza has paved the way for some bitter Democratic primary fights in 2024. Among those most critical of Israel's actions in the conflict has been The Squad, an informal group of around nine progressive Democrats who often clash with their party's establishment. Of that cohort, Rep. Summer Lee of Pittsburgh is the first to face a contested primary in 2024 — but she won't be the last. At least four members, including Lee, have potentially significant primary opposition in part because of their vocal denouncements of Israel — although increasingly negative views of the Middle East nation's actions among the Democratic base means the conflict may not be as helpful to The Squad's challengers as some may have expected.

Should Lee survive, she would join Reps. Greg Casar of Texas and Delia Ramirez of Illinois among those who've won renomination (Casar and Ramirez faced no opposition in their March primaries). But some members with primaries later this summer may have problems, especially the two who are arguably most endangered: New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman and Missouri Rep. Cori Bush. For one thing, they've each been outraised by their leading challengers, and they both have potential scandals that could derail their reelection efforts. Last fall, Bowman pulled a fire alarm in a Capitol office building right before a vote, which resulted in him paying a fine and receiving a censure from the House. And Bush faces investigations by the Department of Justice, Federal Election Commission and House Ethics Committee into alleged misuse of funds to pay her security team, including payments to her husband as part of that team.

Beyond those two, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar may be the other Squad member who could have some trouble. Two years ago, she defeated former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels by just 2 percentage points in the Democratic primary; now Samuels is back for a rematch, although Omar has already raised more than twice as much as the $2.4 million she'd brought in by the time of the 2022 primary>. Otherwise, there are few signs that New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib and Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley will have difficulties. Ocasio-Cortez does have a challenger, but his largely self-funded effort pales in comparison to Ocasio-Cortez's campaign war chest, while Tlaib's little-known opponents only just filed for the race and haven't reported raising any money. Pressley, meanwhile, has no primary opposition ahead of Massachusetts's May 7 candidate filing deadline.

—Geoffrey Skelley, 538