The Lead

Pennsylvania congressman warns of ‘radical’ and ‘socialist’ infiltration in fundraising pitch

By: - February 12, 2019 3:12 pm

US Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District (

Fresh off a successful re-election bid, U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District, is making a play for voters’ wallets by asking them to help him fight socialism.

“We have self proclaimed Socialists serving in the Pennsylvania State House and in Congress,” Smucker wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday. “Socialist ideas are no longer just in places like California and New York, they are right here. Just last year, my opponent was funded by radical groups like Justice Democrats to infiltrate our communities.”

He linked to his campaign’s donation page, telling followers, “We need your help to make sure socialism does not grow roots in our communities.”

The incumbent Smucker defeated Democratic candidate Jess King in the November general election to secure his second term in Congress. His central Pennsylvania district includes Lancaster County and part of York County.

During the campaign, Smucker and the state Republican Party regularly labeled King a socialist because of her support for Medicare-for-All.

The state GOP also pulled out the s-word in a Tuesday press release about Marc Friedenberg, the Democratic party’s 12th Congressional District candidate. Like King, Friedenberg supports Medicare-for-All as well as the new Green Deal advanced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., a member of Democratic Socialists of America.

Neither Friedenberg nor King call themselves socialists.

In January, three-DSA backed candidates were seated in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives.

Democratic representatives Elizabeth Fiedler, of Philadelphia, and Summer Lee and Sara Innamorato, both of Pittsburgh, have spent their first days in office drafting legislation to improve labor practices, voting security, and augment municipal taxing powers.

Public polling data show that “socialism” remains a dirty word among the American electorate, even though a growing number of voters support policies put forth by socialist candidates and elected officials.

Most voters say they wouldn’t vote for a socialist candidate, even though the vast majority of those polled support socialist policies like nationalized healthcare.

On the agenda for Pennsylvania’s DSA-backed freshmen: small steps toward a larger progressive vision

Updated, 4 p.m.

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Elizabeth Hardison
Elizabeth Hardison

Elizabeth Hardison covered education policy, election administration, criminal justice and legislative news for the Capital-Star from Jan. 2019-April 2021. You can find her on Twitter @ElizHardison.