These Pa. lawmakers have 2022 primary challengers

Left, right and open seat, your comprehensive list of every Pa. lawmaker facing opposition on May 17

By: - April 11, 2022 2:03 pm

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

By Harrison Cann

These state lawmakers are in for a challenge.

With the state’s petition deadline already come and gone, we now have a clearer picture of state legislator races across the commonwealth. Pennsylvania’s redistricting process was enmeshed in a lengthy court battle, which led to candidates’ timelines for submitting petitions being shortened to avoid pushing back the May 17 primary.

The normal, three-week process was curtailed to just 11 days, forcing candidates to scramble to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot. Some lawmakers have complained that the primary should have been pushed back because the shorter petition period gives incumbents an advantage over new challengers. But that hasn’t stopped newcomers from bringing their names forward.

Harrisburg is set for a makeover amid retirement wave and a busy primary season

Three special election winners from April 5 will fill seats in Harrisburg through November, but they’ll be facing their own challengers in the May primary if they want to keep their new titles in 2023.

By our count, there are at least 49 instances where a current elected official is facing a challenger in the primary, including 27 Republicans and 22 Democrats. Nearly 20% of the 253 General Assembly members are facing a challenger, in addition to the 37 lawmakers who aren’t running for reelection, meaning more than a third of the seats in the legislature are up for grabs.

Now that the signature situation is over with, here is your guide to every challenger going up against an incumbent in the primary.

House Candidates:

5th Legislative District: 

Incumbent:

  • Barry Jozwiak, a Republican from Bern Township in Berks County

Challenger(s):

  • David Golowski, a Republican from Bern Township in Berks County
    • Golowski was a vocal opponent of the COVID-19 related shutdowns and started a directory, PAlockdown.com, during the pandemic to highlight businesses operating in defiance of statewide orders.

8th Legislative District 

Incumbent:

  • Aaron Bernstine, a Republican from New Beaver Borough in Lawrence County

Challengers:

  • Eric DiTullio, a Republican from Lancaster Township in Butler County
    • DiTullio, an industrial estimator for a national construction company, is a member of the Seneca Valley School Board and vice chair of the PSERS Investment Committee.
  • John Kennedy, a Republican from Middlesex Township in Butler County
    • Kennedy, the son of former Butler County Commissioner James Kennedy, owns and operates a bird hunting preserve and retail meat market, and sits on the Mars Area School Board.

10th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Amen Brown, a Democrat from Philadelphia currently serving the 190th district, was drawn into the 10th district in this redistricting cycle.

Challenger(s):

  • Sajda Blackwell, a Democrat from Philadelphia
    • Sajda “Purple Queen” Blackwell, who is related to former Philadelphia City Councilmember Jannie Blackwell, founded the internet radio station PQRadio1 and has been a vocal supporter of curbing gun violence in the city.
  • Cassandra Green, a Democrat from Philadelphia
    • Cassandra Green, who helped found the Mill Creek Community Partnership, has already received endorsements from the Pennsylvania Working Families Party and lawmakers such as City Councilmembers Helem Gym and Jamie Gauthier.

11th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Marci Mustello, a Republican from Butler Township in Butler County

Challenger(s):

  • Jennifer Steele, a Republican from Summit Township in Butler County
    • Steele, vice president of Butler PA Patriots, a grassroots conservative organization, already has an endorsement from Lt. Gov. candidate Teddy Daniels.

13th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • John Lawrence, a Republican from London Grove in Chester County

Challenger(s):

  • Carmela Ciliberti, a Republican from New London in Chester County
    • Ciliberti, an expert in aviation regulations, was previously a candidate for Chester County Clerk of Courts in 2020; she was defeated by incumbent Democrat Yolanda Van de Krol.

The Capital-Star’s 2022 Pa. incumbent retirement and primary tracker

20th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Emily Kinkead, a Democrat from Pittsburgh

Challenger(s):

  • Nicholas Mastros, a Democrat from Ross in Allegheny County
    • Mastros, 65, is the owner of Allegheny Sandwich Shoppe in Pittsburgh and in his first run for public office.

34th Legislative District

Incumbent

  • Summer Lee, a Democrat from Swissvale Borough in Allegheny County. Lee is also running to fill the newly redrawn 12th Congressional seat vacated by retiring U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle at the same time.

Challenger(s):

  • Abigail Salisbury, a Democrat from Swissvale
    • Salisbury is an attorney and borough council president who could take the Democratic nomination should Lee win the primary to replace Congressman Mike Doyle.

36th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Jessica Benham, a Democrat from Pittsburgh

Challenger(s):

  • Stephanie Fox, a Democrat from Brentwood in Allegheny County
    • Fox, an executive with the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit Center for Victims, is a former member of Brentwood Borough Council and had briefly considered running to succeed Congressman Mike Doyle.

39th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Michael Puskaric, a Republican from Union Township in Washington County

Challenger(s):

  • Andrew Kuzma, a Republican from Elizabeth Township in Allegheny County
    • Kuzma, former Elizabeth Township Commissioner, is an attorney who backed Puskaric’s Democratic opponent during his first race in 2018.

40th Legislative District

Incumbent

  • Natalie Stuck, a Republican from Peters Township in Washington County

Challenger(s):

  • Stephen Renz, a Republican from Peters Township in Washington County
    • Renz, who currently serves as vice chair of the Republican Party of Peters Township, is a former Brentwood School Board member and Steamfitters Local 449 journeyman.

47th Legislative District: 

Incumbent:

  • Keith Gillespie, a Republican from Hellam Township in York County

Challenger(s):

  • Joseph D’Orsie, a Republican from Mt. Wolf Borough in York County
    • D’Orsie, a former football player and wrestler at Duquesne University, is the communications director at Praise Community Church in East York.

51st Legislative District:

Incumbent:

  • Matt Dowling, a Republican from Uniontown in Fayette County

Challenger(s):

  • Ryan Porupski, a Republican from Nicholson Township in Fayette County
    • Porupski is the school board president of Albert Gallatin Area School District who unsuccessfully ran to be Nicholson Township Supervisor in 2015.

55th Legislative District:

Incumbent:

  • Jason Silvis, a Republican from Washington Township in Westmoreland County

Challenger(s):

  • Michelle Schmidt, a Republican from Washington Township in Westmoreland County
    • A board member of the Kiski Area School District, Schmidt has been a supporter for parental choice when it comes to masking and other policies in schools.
  • Jill Cooper, a Republican from Murrysville in Westmoreland County
    • Cooper is a political organizer who has worked with the Murrysville Export Republican Committee and is a board member with the Murrysville Economic & Community Development Corporation.

56th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • George Dunbar, a Republican from Penn Township in Westmoreland County

Challenger(s):

  • Samuel Wright Jr., a Republican from Penn Township in Westmoreland County

67th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Martin Causer, a Republican from Annin Township in McKean County

Challenger(s):

  • Robert Rossman, a Republican from Allegheny Township in Potter County
    • Rossman, owner of Cream ’n Sugar in Coudersport, is a former vice chair of the Potter County GOP and has an endorsement from Lt. Gov. candidate Teddy Daniels.

72nd Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Frank Burns, a Democrat from East Taylor Township in Cambria County

Challenger(s):

  • Michael Cashaw, a Democrat from Johnstown in Cambria County
    • Cashaw, the current president of the Rotary Club of Johnstown, is a freelance photographer with a background in banking.

80th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • James Gregory, a Republican from Hollidaysburg in Blair County

Challenger(s):

  • Patricia Haight, a Republican from Frankstown in Blair County
    • Haight is a conservative activist and community organizer who founded the charity Love Them Both to help support unwed mothers.

81st Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Rich Irvin, a Republican from Spruce Creek Township in Huntingdon County

Challenger(s):

  • Andrea Speck, a Republican from Cromwell Township in Huntingdon County
    • Co-host of the Hippie Sunday School Podcast, Speck has been a community organizer over the last two years, collecting donations for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a local nursing home and more.

86th Legislative District

State Rep. John Hershey, a Republican serving the 82nd district, was drawn into this new district with state Rep. Perry Stambaugh, a Republican currently serving the 86th district.

94th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Stan Saylor, a Republican from Windsor Township in York County

Challenger(s):

  • Wendy Fink, a Republican from Windsor Township in York County
    • Fink, a conservative education advocate, has experience as both a public school and home-school educator.

96th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Mike Sturla, a Democrat from Lancaster City

Challenger(s):

  • Dana Hamp Gulick, a Democrat from Manheim Township in Lancaster County
    • Hamp Gulick, a single mom and domestic violence survivor, lost her previous two elections, when she tried to unseat state Rep. Steve Mentzer in the old 97th district.

100th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Bryan Cutler, a Republican from Drumore Township in Lancaster County

Challenger(s):

  • Anne Weston, a Republican from Quarryville Borough in Lancaster County
    • A chiropractic assistant, Weston says she prioritizes election integrity and has the support of Audit the Vote PA, an organization that has promoted unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

103rd Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Patty Kim, a Democrat from Harrisburg in Dauphin County

Challenger(s):

  • Heather MacDonald, a Democrat from Camp Hill Borough in Cumberland County
    • A community activist who also works for a residential real estate company, MacDonald would be the first LGBTQ+ candidate to represent the district.
  • WITHDRAWN: Linda Thompson, the former mayor of Harrisburg, dropped out of the race this week citing problems with gaining enough nominating petitions.

115th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Maureen Madden, a Democrat from Coolbaugh in Monroe County

Challenger(s):

  • Anna Lopez, a Democrat from Coolbaugh in Monroe County
    • Lopez was elected to the Pocono Mountain School District Board last year and took office in December.

134th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Peter Schweyer, a Democrat from Allentown in Lehigh County, currently serves the 22nd district but was drawn into the new 134th.

Challenger:

  • Enid Santiago, a Democrat from Allentown in Lehigh County
    • Santiago, who works at a local service-based community organization, narrowly lost to Schweyer in the 2020 primary.

159th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Brian Kirkland, a Democrat from Chester in Delaware County

Challenger(s):

  • Carol Kazeem, a Democrat from Chester in Delaware County
    • Kazeem, a trauma-informed outreach worker, has been a community activist and helped organize protests of the Covanta waste-to-stream facility in Chester.

166th Legislative District 

Incumbent:

  • Greg Vitali, a Democrat from Haverford Township in Delaware County

Challenger(s):

  • David Brown, a Democrat from Haverford Township in Delaware County
    • Brown serves as chair of the Pennsylvania Secular Democrats and is a member of the State Democratic Committee and the Main Line NAACP.

169th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Katie Klunk, a Republican from Hanover Borough in York County

Challenger(s):

  • Matthew Smith, a Republican from Manheim Township in York County

172nd Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Kevin Boyle, a Democrat from Philadelphia

Challenger(s):

  • Robert Stewart, a Democrat from Philadelphia
    • Stewart is a former aide to state Sen. John Sabatina.
  • WITHDRAWN: Nathanael Cheng, a Democrat from Philadelphia

181st Legislative District 

Incumbent:

  • Malcolm Kenyatta, a Democrat from Philadelphia

Challenger(s):

  • Joy Crudup-Dorsey, a Democrat from Philadelphia
    • Crudup-Dorsey, a vocal advocate for addressing the city’s gun violence, works as a counselor at the Youth Detention Center in West Philadelphia.

184th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Elizabeth Fielder, a Democrat from Philadelphia

Challenger(s):

  • Michael Giangiordano II, a Democrat from Philadelphia
    • Giangiorano II has a vast amount of real estate experience, both as a realtor for Century 21 and as the founder and CEO of Rental Rater, a rental experience ratings website.

187th Legislative District 

State Rep. Ryan Mackenzie, a Republican serving the 134th district, was drawn into this new district with state Rep. Gary Day, a Republican currently serving the 187th district.

188th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Rick Krajewski, a Democrat from Philadelphia

Challenger(s):

  • James Wright, a Democrat from Philadelphia
    • A lifelong Philadelphian, Wright is the director of Community, Economic, and Real Estate Development at the People’s Emergency Center.

194th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Pam DeLissio, a Democrat from Philadelphia

Challenger(s):

  • Tarik Khan, a Democrat from Philadelphia
    • A frontline nurse and the immediate past president of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, Khan visited homebound residents to administer COVID-19 vaccines throughout the pandemic.

197th Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Danilo Burgos, a Democrat from Philadelphia

Challenger(s):

  • Gladys DeMatos, a Democrat from Philadelphia

200th Legislative District

State Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald, a Democrat serving the 203rd district, was drawn into this new district with state Rep. Chris Rabb, a Democrat currently serving the 200th district .

Challenger(s):

  • Janay Hawthorne, a Democrat from Philadelphia
    • Hawthorne is an active member of AFSCME District Council 47 as a shop steward and serves as a public health adjunct professor at Arcadia University.

201st Legislative District

Incumbent:

  • Stephen Kinsey, a Democrat from Philadelphia

Challenger(s):

  • Andre Carroll, a Democrat from Philadelphia
    • Carroll, who previously worked in the City Controller’s office and served as community engagement director for City Councilmember Isaiah Thomas, sits on the board of The Brothahood Foundation and Philadelphia District Attorney’s Youth Aid Panel.

Senate Candidates

8th Senatorial District 

Incumbent:

  • Anthony H. Williams, a Democrat from Philadelphia

Challenger(s):

  • Paul Prescod, a Democrat from Philadelphia
    • A public school teacher and union activist, Prescod has already received endorsements from organizations including AFSCME District Council 47 and the Pennsylvania Working Families Party.

16th Senatorial District

Incumbent: 

  • Patrick Browne, a Republican from Allentown in Lehigh County

Challenger(s):

  • Jarrett Coleman, a Republican from Upper Macungie Township in Lehigh County
    • Coleman, an airline pilot and member of the Parkland School Board, has been an opponent of school closures and vaccine mandates.

20th Senatorial District

Incumbent:

  • Lisa Baker, a Republican from Lehman Township in Luzerne County

Challenger(s):

  • Nathan Turock, a Republican from Factoryville in Wyoming County

34th Senatorial District 

Bold-Faced Name:

  • Greg Rothman, a Republican who currently holds the 87th House seat, is running for the newly drawn district covering Cumberland, Perry and Dauphin counties.

Challenger(s):

  • Michael Gossert, a Republican from Hampden Township in Cumberland County
    • Gossert is a former Hampden Township manager and is on the Cumberland Valley School Board.

36th Senate District 

Incumbent:

  • Ryan Aument, a Republican from West Hempfield in Lancaster County

Challenger:

  • Michael Miller, a Republican from
    • Miller, a financial adviser with an office in Manheim Township, has been active in Audit the Vote PA’s efforts to protest the 2020 election, including leading an unsanctioned canvass of Lancaster County last summer.

Lawmakers seeking to fill vacant seats:

24th Senatorial District

Incumbent:

  • Tracy Pennycuick, a Republican who currently holds the 147th House seat, is seeking to take over for retiring state Sen. Bob Mensch.

Challenger(s):

  • David Moyer, a Republican from Washington Township in Berks County

40th Senatorial District

Incumbent:

  • Rosemary Brown, a Republican who currently holds the 189th House seat, is seeking to take over for retiring state Sen. Mario Scavello.

Challenger(s):

  • Kimberley DiGaetano, a Republican from
    • DiGaetano is a retiree who also serves as judge of elections in Pocono Township in Monroe County.
Harrison Cann is a reporter for City & State Pa., where this story first appeared.

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