Summer Lee wins PA House primary in triumph for team

Pennsylvania State Rep. Summer Lee emerged victorious in the Democratic primary for an open U.S. House seat in Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press.

Why is this important: The result marks another victory for progressives this week in a nationwide battle with more establishment Democrats for ideological control of the party.

Driving the news: From Friday, Lee had 41.8% of the vote to establishment-backed lawyer Steve Irwin’s 41.1%, according to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State.

  • The race was tight enough that votes were counted for three days after primary day before the election was called by the PA.

The backdrop: Lee, a supporter of progressive policies like Medicare-for-All and the Green New Deal, won her State House seat in 2018 with the support of Democratic Socialists of America, defeat a 20-year-old incumbent.

  • Irwin, a political newcomer, had the support of Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), whose retirement left the Pittsburgh-based seat up for grabs.
  • Lee had the endorsements of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the Congressional Progressive Caucus and several team members.

Big picture: This week’s primaries in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, North Carolina, Idaho and Oregon were a mixed bag for progressives, but ultimately saw them pick up victories in several major contests.

  • The biggest victory was Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s 30+ point shot against moderate Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.) in the state’s U.S. Senate primary.
  • Jamie McLeod-Skinner, backed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), is also on track to unseat centrist Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) — a blow to President Biden, who gave Schrader one of his few mentions.
  • In internal races at Kentucky and North Carolinahowever, the progressives fared poorly, with former progressive North Carolina state senator Erica Smith losing to moderate state senator Don Davis. by a margin of more than 2 to 1.

And after: Lee is the clear favorite to win her general election, as her district voted for Biden in 2020 by 20 points.

The team is also set to gain another potential member in Greg Casar, the Democratic nominee in a heavily Democratic district of Austin and San Antonio, Texas.

  • Another possible opportunity is in Texas’ 28th District, where progressive Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) Jessica Cisneros takes on the centrist in a runoff Tuesday.

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