Rep. Matt Cartwright (D, PA-8) — Likely Democratic to Leans Democratic: The new Pennsylvania House districts, which the Democratic-controlled state Supreme Court substituted for a Republican-drawn map, largely benefited Democrats and should allow them to net several seats in the Keystone State as a whole. However, Republicans are targeting a northeastern district, PA-8, that covers Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and other places where Trump ran well ahead of Mitt Romney’s showing in 2012 (Trump won the new district by about 10 points, similar to his showing on the previous version of the map). So Cartwright is representing a district that changed significantly in terms of its terrain — only about half of the voters in Cartwright’s old district live in the new PA-8 — and his opponent is a credible self-funder, businessman John Chrin (R). Republicans have been talking up this race for months, and the National Republican Congressional Committee backed up those words with a nearly half-million dollar ad buy in the district. Democrats have been bullish on Cartwright; we think he’s still favored but PA-8 is probably one of the best half-dozen or so GOP offensive targets on a national playing field where the party is mostly playing defense.
By Geoffrey Skelley and Kyle Kondik
Sabato's Crystal Ball
September 6th, 2018