Today, I am looking at five more Pennsylvania state house districts: HD 18, HD 142, HD 143, HD 144, and HD 178, all of which are located in Bucks County, which is located directly northeast of Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania House District 18
PA HD 18 is home to the community of Bensalem Township. HD 18 was barely affected by the 2022 redistricting, with the district’s partisan lean and boundaries remaining unchanged. At the presidential level, HD 18 has historically been solidly Democratic but has trended to the right in recent years, having gone from supporting Barack Obama by about 17 points in 2012 to supporting Hillary Clinton by a narrower margin of just under 9 points and Joe Biden by an even narrower margin of a little more than 5 points. However, at the state house level, Republican incumbent Gene DiGirolamo managed to easily hold onto the seat, winning it by a decent 12-point margin in 2018 and running unopposed in previous cycles. DiGorlamo resigned in early 2020, prompting a special election. While the special was seen as a decent opportunity for Dems, given that Biden had won the district, Republican K.C. Tomlinson ended up winning by a fairly comfortable margin of between 10 and 11 points, likely a result of poor Dem turnout. It should be noted that K.C. is the daughter of Robert Tomlinson, who was representing an overlapping senate district, which likely gave her strong name recognition. The 2020 (General Election) race was quite competitive, with Tomlinson being reelected by between 4 and 5 points (against the same Dem challenger as the special), as was the 2022 house race, which saw Tomlinson win reelection by roughly that same margin. The district should be competitive again this cycle, given the close previous races. I’m classifying HD 18 as a Toss Up.
Pennsylvania House District 142
PA HD 142 contains the community of Lower Southampton Township. Under the pre-2022 boundaries, HD 142 was a closely divided district at the presidential level, as it very narrowly supported Mitt Romney by less than a percentage point and Donald Trump by about 4 points in 2016 and by just under 3 points in 2020. However, at the state house level, Republican Frank Farry managed to easily hold onto the seat, winning reelection by a little more than 12 points in 2018 and by at least 20 points in both 2014 and 2020. (The Dems did not contest the district in 2016.) It should be noted that Farry was considered to be reasonably moderate, which may have explained his overperformances. The 2022 redistricting made HD 142 very slightly bluer, as Biden would have now narrowly carried the district by just under 2 points. The 2022 state house race was extremely competitive, with Republican Joe Hogan winning the open seat by a razor-thin margin of less than 100 votes (a quarter of a percentage point). The district should be top a pick-up opportunity for Dems, given the closeness of the most recent house race and that Biden narrowly carried it (even though Hogan will now have the advantage of incumbency). I’m classifying HD 142 as a Toss Up.
Pennsylvania House District 143
PA HD 143 encompasses the communities of Hilltown and Plumsteadville. HD 143 swung several points to the left under the pre-2022 boundaries, having gone from supporting Romney by a little less than 8 points to just barely supporting Trump by less than a percentage point in 2016 to supporting Biden by about 6 points. Republican Marguerite Quinn easily held onto the district in 2016, winning reelection by about 27.5 points. However, Democrat Wendy Ullman was able to flip the seat in 2018, narrowly winning the open race by between 1 and 2 points. Nonetheless, the district flipped back to the GOP in 2020, despite Biden carrying it, with Republican Shelby Labs defeating Ullman by about 3 points. HD 143 became several points redder as a result of the 2022 redistricting, as Trump would have now carried the district in 2020 by just under 3 points. The 2022 state house race was competitive, with Labs being reelected by between 6 and 7 points, which isn’t all that impressive a performance, given that she previously unseated a Dem incumbent in a bluer district, and points to signs of polarization. Labs should be favored somewhat but the district should be competitive, given the previous results. I’m classifying HD 143 as Lean Republican.
Pennsylvania House District 144
PA HD 144 encompasses Warminster and Warrington townships. Under the pre-2022 boundaries, HD 144 had been a Republican leaning district that was trending towards the Dems, going from supporting Romney by about 9.5 points to supporting Trump by a closer margin of between 5 and 6 points to narrowly supporting Biden by 1.5 points. The 2018 state house race was quite close, with Republican F. Todd Polinchock narrowly winning the open seat by 2 points. (Note that Democrats did not even contest the previous house races.) The 2020 house race was not particularly competitive, though, as Polinchock won reelection by 11 points. The 2022 redistricting made HD 144 slightly bluer (and changed the district’s boundaries fairly significantly), with Biden’s margin increasing by nearly 2 points. Democrat Brian Munroe managed to flip the district in 2022, as he narrowly defeated Polinchock by less than 2 points. The district should be competitive again this cycle, with Munroe probably being one of the most vulnerable Democrats. I’m classifying HD 144 as a Toss Up.
Pennsylvania House District 178
PA HD 178 is home to Wrightstown Township. Under the pre-2022 boundaries, HD 178 had been an historically Republican district that had become considerably more competitive at the presidential level in recent years. Specifically, the district went from easily supporting Romney by between 13 and 14 points to supporting Trump by a considerably narrower margin of just under 3 points in 2016 to supporting Biden by between 1 and 2 points. Republican Scott Petri easily held onto the seat in 2016, winning reelection by about 22 points. Petri ended up resigning at the start of 2018, and Democrat Helen Tai was able to flip the seat in a 2018 special election, winning by a close 2-point margin. The district flipped back to the GOP in the 2018 general, however, with Republican Wendi Thomas narrowly defeating Tai by between 1 and 2 points. Thomas was reelected by a considerably larger margin of just under 11 points in 2020. HD 178 became quite a bit redder as a result of the 2022 redistricting, as Trump would have now carried the district in 2020 by about 8.5 points. Republican Kristin Marcell held onto the seat in 2020, winning the open race by a decent margin of just over 13 points. Marcell should be heavily favored, but the district is still worth keeping an eye on. I’m classifying HD 178 as Likely Republican.
Thanks to cnalysis (for the 2020 presidential results of the current districts) and Daily Kos Elections (for the presidential results of the pre-2022 districts).