Campaigns & Elections

Five for Friday: What to watch for in Tuesday’s primary election

Several local and statewide races could indicate where voters are heading ahead of November

Five things to watch for during the commonwealth's primary election

Five things to watch for during the commonwealth's primary election adamkaz/Getty Images

There’s no shortage of storylines to keep an eye on as Pennsylvania’s April 23 presidential primary approaches. There are competitive congressional primaries across the state, from central Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District to the 7th Congressional District in the Lehigh Valley. There’s a statewide effort to organize a protest vote in response to the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. There are even increasingly contentious primary races for state treasurer and auditor general. 

With so much going on across the commonwealth, here are five things to watch for during the commonwealth’s primary election on Tuesday, April. 23. 

Three’s company in PA-7

In the race for the Republican nomination and the chance to take on U.S. Rep Susan Wild in the general election, candidates in the 7th Congressional District are seeking to set themselves apart while maintaining broad enough support to win a three-way primary race. 

There’s no Jack, Janet or Chrissy, but the race in PA-7 features Republicans Kevin Dellicker, Ryan Mackenzie and Maria Montero. Dellicker, a business owner and veteran of Heidelberg Township; Mackenzie, a state representative from Lower Macungie Township; and Montero, a personal injury lawyer from Easton, all have attacked Wild and Democrats’ policies in Washington while pitching their personal experience as the difference maker in this election. But with closely aligned policy stances, the ability to stand out to Republican primary voters and the changing demographics of cities like Allentown and Bethlehem will go a long way in determining who will edge out their fellow GOP candidates. 


Pennsylvania’s Democratic primary in the 10th Congressional District, despite having six candidates seeking the nomination, has largely been centered around just one person: Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry. The Democrats running in the 10th District primary include former WGAL news anchor Janelle Stelson; Marine Corps veteran Mike O’Brien; Harrisburg City Councilmember Shamaine Daniels; Carlisle Area School District board member Rick Coplen; Blake Lynch, a former media executive with WITF; and John Broadhurst, a businessman, entrepreneur and former truck driver. Stelson and O’Brien have emerged as the more prolific fundraisers of the field, with O’Brien pulling in $309,525.93 in total contributions in the most recent period, and Stelson raising $293,805.82 in total contributions during the same stretch.However, as Christopher Boroick, the director of the Muhlenberg College’s Institute of Public Opinion told City & State, the large field likely lowers the percentage needed for a candidate to win in the Democratic primary. 

Attorney general geography

In a crowded Democratic field for attorney general, geography and local ties could play a big role in who comes out on top. Several of the Democratic candidates are native to the southeast part of the state, particularly the Philadelphia region, meaning the region’s voters will be split among Joe Khan, Jared Solomon, Keir Bradford-Grey and Jack Stollsteimer

Meanwhile, Eugene DePasquale, a former auditor general and three-term state representative, has ties to Harrisburg and Pittsburgh roots. A native of the Steel City, DePasquale has gotten endorsements from organizations across the state and even earned the endorsement of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board – who chose the former lawmaker and fiscal watchdog over any of the local candidates. You can find our exclusive Q&A with DePasquale here. 

On the Republican side of the AG race, state Rep. Craig Williams and York County District Attorney Dave Sunday will clash in the GOP primary for attorney general, with both candidates highlighting the prosecutorial bonafides in the leadup to April 23. City & State spoke with both Sunday and Williams ahead of the primary about their respective experiences and their goals if elected AG. 

Statewide success

This year’s auditor general primary features two candidates hoping to get their first taste of statewide success. On one side, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta is making another attempt at statewide office, less than two years after losing the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate to John Fetterman. Matched up against Kenyatta is Mark Pinsley, who’s also seeking his first statewide office victory. Pinsley, Lehigh County Controller and former South Whitehall Township commissioner, had two previous unsuccessful state Senate runs in both 2018 and 2022. 

The winner of the Democratic primary will go up against incumbent Auditor General Tim DeFoor, one of the few Republicans in recent years to earn a statewide victory. As Democrats have won notable races for U.S. Senate, governor and state Supreme Court, the GOP picked up unlikely victories in 2020 in the auditor general and state treasurer race. Now in 2024, the Republican Party is hoping to build on that statewide success, just as the Democratic candidates hope to do on Tuesday. 


Speaking of state treasurer, two Democrats are facing off on Tuesday for a chance to run against incumbent Treasurer Stacy Garrity in the fall. Democratic state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, who represents the 3rd state House District in Erie and chairs the House Democratic Policy Committee, is facing Erin McClelland, a substance abuse and mental health counselor who spent time doing process improvement work with former U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neill.

Bizzarro has made speeding up the return of Pennsylvanians’ unclaimed property a key priority and has also called for the creation of regional Treasury offices. McClelland, meanwhile, says the state treasurer can do more to improve and promote cybersecurity and has called for improved oversight of state contracts. More on the Democratic primary for state treasurer can be found here.