Late yesterday, seven-term Pennsylvania Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Allentown) announced that he will not seek re-election next year. Just prior to the Congressman making his retirement decision public, state Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Coopersburg) officially announced his Republican primary challenge in the district that stretches westward from the Allentown-Bethlehem area all the way to the Harrisburg suburbs. Congressman Dent served 14 years in the Pennsylvania legislature before winning election to federal office in 2004. We can now expect vigorous primary contests in both parties. President Trump carried this district 52-44% last November. Mitt Romney posted a 51-48% edge here in 2012. Mr. Dent averaged 57.5% in his two contested elections since the seat was re-drawn to its present configuration in 2011. He was unopposed in 2014.
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