PA-12, PA-17: The biggest news from Pennsylvania’s primaries on Tuesday night may be the losses of two different Blue Dog Democratic House members: Jason Altmire in PA-12 and Tim Holden in PA-17. Altmire lost to fellow member Mark Critz by a 54-46 margin; the two of them were forced into the same southwest Pennsylvania district by a Republican-drawn map. The majority of redrawn PA-12 is on Altmire’s turf, but Critz managed to eke out the victory thanks to aggressive labor backing and huge turnout in his own smaller portion of the district (in the Johnstown area). Critz is no liberal either, but is considered more labor-friendly than Altmire.
The other loss was Holden in the 17th, which was redrawn dramatically to be a Democratic vote sink for the cities of northeastern Pennsylvania. Holden has had great success fending off Republican challengers in GOP-leaning districts for the last few decades, but ran out of luck when put into a Dem-leaning district and facing an opponent from the left. (Also a big problem for Holden: less than a quarter of his new constituents were in his old district, so he was effectively a blank slate to most of them. His opponent, Matt Cartwright, is a well-known local trial lawyer in the Scranton area, and may have actually had the name rec advantage despite not having an incumbency advantage.)
Other highlights from last night: Rich guy Tom Smith, as expected, was the winner of the Republican Senate primary. He’s a serious underdog against Democratic Sen. Bob Casey Jr. in November. State Rep. Scott Perry won the open seat primary in the safely-GOP PA-04 (vacated by retiring Todd Platts), and is a shoo-in in November. Rep. Tim Murphy easily turned back a tea party-fueled challenge from Evan Feinberg in the GOP primary in PA-18. And in the Democratic primary for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s race, netroots fave and former Rep. Patrick Murphy lost to prosecutor Kathleen Kane, ending his comeback bid.