House Primaries: Clinton In-Law Loses Pennsylvania Comeback Bid

State Rep. Brendan Boyle wins Democratic nod to take over Allyson Schwartz’s seat.

Rep. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa.
National Journal
Adam Wollner and Jack Fitzpatrick
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Adam Wollner and Jack Fitzpatrick
May 20, 2014, 5:38 p.m.

State Rep. Brendan Boyle won the Demo­crat­ic nom­in­a­tion to suc­ceed Rep. Allyson Schwartz in Pennsylvania’s 13th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict Tues­day and is over­whelm­ingly favored to take over the Demo­crat­ic-lean­ing dis­trict, after best­ing Clin­ton in-law and former Rep. Mar­jor­ie Mar­gol­ies in the primary.

Boyle had 58 per­cent of the vote when the As­so­ci­ated Press called the race around 9:30 East­ern time, beat­ing Mar­gol­ies’s 22 per­cent. Phys­i­cian Val Arkoosh took 11 per­cent and state Sen. Daylin Leach earned 8 per­cent of the Demo­crat­ic vote.

Mar­gol­ies, who served in the House from 1993 to 1994, star­ted the race as an early fa­vor­ite thanks to her ex­per­i­ence and her con­nec­tions to the Clin­tons: Her son, Marc Mezv­in­sky, is mar­ried to Chelsea Clin­ton, and Mar­gol­ies cast a pivotal vote in fa­vor of Bill Clin­ton’s budget in 1993. Mar­gol­ies fea­tured Bill Clin­ton in a TV ad, and Hil­lary Clin­ton hos­ted a fun­draiser for her at Lynn For­est­er de Roth­schild’s home in New York City earli­er this year.

But Mar­gol­ies’s op­pon­ents spent heav­ily to catch up. Boyle, who had the sup­port of a su­per PAC backed by loc­al labor uni­ons, drew a tar­get on his back in the fi­nal weeks of the race, as Mar­gol­ies, Leach, and Arkoosh all dir­ec­ted cri­ti­cism at him for sev­er­al al­leged an­ti­abor­tion votes in the state le­gis­lature. EMILY’s List and NARAL Pro-Choice Amer­ica launched a mail ad cam­paign cri­ti­ciz­ing him.

Pres­id­ent Obama won the dis­trict by more than 30 per­cent­age points in 2012, un­der­scor­ing Boyle’s ad­vant­age in the gen­er­al elec­tion.

Else­where in Pennsylvania, Re­pub­lic­an Rep. Bill Shuster won re­nom­in­a­tion in the 9th Dis­trict with 52 per­cent of the GOP primary vote against an un­der-fun­ded chal­lenger, Art Halvor­son.

GEOR­GIA: Re­pub­lic­ans Fight Over Open Safe Seats

In Geor­gia, Rep. John Bar­row is the last white Demo­crat from the Deep South still in Con­gress, and Re­pub­lic­ans are after his con­ser­vat­ive-lean­ing 12th Dis­trict once again this year. Bar­row’s GOP op­pon­ent will be busi­ness­man Rick Al­len, who emerged from a crowded field in Tues­day’s primary.

Al­len, who also ran in 2012, won 54 per­cent of the vote  — just above the 50 per­cent threshold needed to avoid a run­off — at the time the AP called the race with 93 per­cent of pre­cincts re­port­ing. Busi­ness­men Eu­gene Yu, who loaned his cam­paign more than $700,000,  fin­ished second with 16%, com­pared to 15% for state Rep. Delvis Dut­ton and 12% for former con­gres­sion­al aide John Stone. 

Mean­while, Sen­ate runs by GOP Reps. Jack King­ston, Paul Broun, and Phil Gin­grey left heav­ily Re­pub­lic­an dis­tricts open across Geor­gia. The con­test in Broun’s 10th Dis­trict will go to a run­off in Ju­ly between Baptist pas­tor Jody Hice and busi­ness­man Mike Collins, who ad­vanced through the ini­tial round of vot­ing Tues­day. Hice took 35 per­cent of the GOP primary vote and Collins took 32 per­cent when the As­so­ci­ated Press called the run­off with 79 per­cent of pre­cincts re­port­ing. State Rep. Donna Shel­don took third place with 15 per­cent.

Collins has nev­er held elec­ted of­fice, but his fath­er, Mac, served six terms rep­res­ent­ing the 8th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict in Geor­gia. Hice, who also hosts a ra­dio talk show, has the back­ing of sev­er­al loc­al tea party groups and is con­sidered an ideo­lo­gic­al heir to the fiery Broun.

ARKAN­SAS: No Run­offs Ne­ces­sary

Banker and former George W. Bush White House aide French Hill won the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion to suc­ceed Rep. Tim Griffin, who’s run­ning for lieu­ten­ant gov­ernor, in Arkan­sas’s 2nd Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict. Hill took 54 per­cent of the vote, by­passing a po­ten­tial run­off primary against either state Rep. Ann Clem­mer or re­tired Army Col. Con­rad Reyn­olds, who split the re­mainder of the vote.

Hill will face former North Little Rock May­or Patrick Hays, the Demo­crat­ic can­did­ate, in Novem­ber. The dis­trict fa­vors Re­pub­lic­ans in na­tion­al polit­ics at this point, but Demo­crats re­tain some hope that the ex­per­i­enced Hays can re­kindle the party’s for­tunes in a state that’s giv­en them heart­burn re­cently.

In the 4th Dis­trict, left empty by GOP Rep. Tom Cot­ton’s Sen­ate run, state Rep. Bruce West­er­man cap­tured the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion with 53 per­cent of the primary vote over en­ergy ex­ec­ut­ive Tommy Moll. The Demo­crat­ic nom­in­ee is former Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tion FEMA dir­ect­or James Lee Witt, whose sup­port from the former pres­id­ent and gov­ernor makes for an in­ter­est­ing sub­plot as Demo­crats try to re­take a dis­trict they’ve held with only two breaks since Re­con­struc­tion.

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