Hands-Off Approach Appropriate for PA-8 Primary

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I used to be generally opposed to the DCCC and state party organizations intervening in primaries, but I’ve come around to the view that it’s important to evaluate on a case by case basis. PA-13 might be a good case for intervention, for instance, since if all the really strong candidates split the vote in too many directions, a weaker candidate could end up squeaking through.

In the case of the 8th district, I think it would be a mistake for the party campaign organizations to try to coronate a preferred candidate. Though they’re both inexperienced candidates,¬†Shaughnessy Naughton and Kevin Strouse¬†both seem like sharp young politicians who are fully capable of drawing a strong contrast with Mike Fitzpatrick’s tea party record.

Since Fitzpatrick has nobly term-gimmicked himself to serving just two terms before he becomes a lobbyist, the more experienced politicians are all waiting for 2016. Letting Fitzpatrick serve another term and then running for the open seat is definitely the savvier move for individual politicians, but progressive partisans have a different objective: getting a Democrat into that seat to vote in the 2015-16 Congress.

If everybody thinks it’s more likely that the seat goes blue in 2016, why not let the two new candidates compete on a level playing field, without the official campaign organizations’ thumbs on the scale? They’re both taking a bigger risk of losing than the more experienced politicians are willing to tolerate, and they each deserve an unimpeded shot at the Democratic nomination.

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