PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Congressman Conor Lamb’s announcement that he’s running for the U.S. Senate next year will shake up an already crowded field for the Democratic nomination.
At this early stage, there is no real front runner.
“Not surprised. We’ve been hearing this for the last few months, and he finally pulled the trigger,” Larry Ceisler, a Philadelphia political analyst, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Lamb’s announcement took no one by surprise, but political analysts say it makes a wide-open race even more competitive.
“Having two titans from western Pennsylvania is going to make the Democratic Primary very interesting,” says Mike DeVanney, a Republican political strategist.
Many locally see the race between Lamb, a moderate suburban Democrat, versus the Mon Valley progressive, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman.
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“John Fetterman has spent his career as mayor of Braddock as well as lieutenant governor positioning himself as part of the Bernie Sanders, AOC, progressive wing of the Democratic Party,” says Khari Mosley, a Pittsburgh political analyst.
Lamb, on the other hand, was an early endorser of Joe Biden who campaigned for Lamb in 2018.
“Conor Lamb, a former prosecutor, a Marine, a third-generation politician from the Lamb political dynasty in western Pennsylvania, is seen much more as a moderate,” adds Mosley.
Moderates tend to win statewide general elections, but not always in the primary.
Republicans say Lamb is already moving to the left to win the Democratic primary.
“Lt. Gov. Fetterman is too far to the left to appeal to the broad majority of folks in Pennsylvania and that would have been an area that Conor Lamb might have been able to take advantage of,” says Sam DeMarco, chair of the Allegheny County Republican Party.
“However, in order to try to win this primary, he’s been going so far to the left.”
Some think that creates an opening for a Philadelphian like state Representative Malcolm Kenyatta, a progressive who backed Biden over Bernie, or Montgomery County commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh.
“She’s the only woman in the field and in a Democratic primary than means a lot,” says Ceisler.
“And she is also the only candidate from the suburban southeastern counties which are now vote-rich counties for Democrats.”
In 2016 when three men and one woman ran for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, it was the Philadelphia woman — Katie McGinty — who won.
With Fetterman and Lamb from the west and Arkoosh and Kenyatta from the east, that may mean the other parts of the state may decide the winner!
One thing we do know is that this race, with ten months to go, will be hot, long, and expensive.