Pennsylvania's former 7th District, which includes parts of the state's newly drawn 5th District, was cited heavily as an example of partisan gerrymandering. 
Pennsylvania's former 7th District, which includes parts of the state's newly drawn 5th District, was cited heavily as an example of partisan gerrymandering. 

Pennsylvania's 5th District prepares for an overcrowded election

Under unique circumstances, Pennsylvania's newly drawn District 5 must choose among 10 Democratic candidates in the primary to replace Republican Pat Meehan.


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It seems that in Pennsylvania's newly drawn District 5 in U.S. Congress, which includes parts of Philadelphia, people have taken the "Blue Wave" very seriously.

Election day (May 15) is approaching and there are many Democratic candidates who want to take the position of the disgraced Republican, Pat Meehan.

With a new district map, politicians have turned en masse to take a single position in a territory that is still getting accustomed to its new geography.

According to, "Meehan's former Seventh District had been drawn by the GOP years earlier in such a hallucinogenic way so as to touch five counties and keep it locked up by the right." With the new version, which includes Delaware County and sections of South Philly, Democrats have a double-digit lead.

Although many consider that variety is the spice of life, a race crammed with candidates can actually backfire.

Among the Democratic candidates are...

Larry Arata

"A candidate that can’t be bought" is his motto. After the fatal overdose of his son at age 23, Arata has joined the fight against opiates and has turned to community work.

A graduate of Haverford High School and of Princeton University, in 1997 he founded the Citizens for Good Government organization with the intention of making politicians responsible for their actions and fighting corruption.

He is a secondary school teacher and the only member of the union to participate in the primary for Congress.

He has refused to receive money from political action committees (PACs) and has made opiates, education, the environment, arms control and constitutional conventions his main goals as a candidate.

Margo Davidson

This journalist and state representative has a controversial profile. After having come to light as a “hit-and-runner”, she has decided to join the race for a position in Congress to level her chances of being re-elected as a state representative, according to YC News.

Davidson was elected to the State House of Representatives in 2010, leading the Democratic Women's Caucus and joining campaigns such as #TIMESUP. She is the first Democrat, African-American and woman to be elected to represent Legislative District 164.

Thaddeus Kirkland

This is another candidate that aims to scale in his political career. As a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since 1993 and mayor of Chester since 2016, Kirkland joins the 10 participants for District 5. With 63 years, his career as pastor of Chester Community Baptist Church has earned him a place in the lives of his voters. In February, he announced his candidacy for Meehan’s District.

His legislative agenda is based on firearm reforms, educational financing and infrastructure projects, according to the Delaware County Daily Times.

Richard Lazer

Lazer served as an aid to Mayor Jim Kenney, joining the administration in 2016. After formalizing his nomination for District 5, and resigning his position in the mayor's office, he has assured that his priorities will be work, education and the reform of criminal justice.

His deep family bond with the unions has made him adopt the labor flag in his political campaign, focusing on fair contracts and activism for the inclusion of people of color in the building trade.

Lindy Li

Li is a first-generation citizen and activist for cancer research. A graduate of Princeton University, she is a member of the Democratic National Committee and the Ethnic Council Executive Committee, and her professional work includes the treasury of the Pennsylvania Young Democrats organization and contributions to the Huffington Post.

Her political agenda includes a $15 per hour minimum wage, the promotion of the middle class through the improvement of working conditions and female representation in politics. Added to this, Li joins Bernie Sanders' proposal for a national single-payer health care system separated from working conditions.

Also, the candidate has made clear her positions regarding the reform of arms control, tuition-free universities and renewable energy.

Ashley Lunkenheimer

This candidate has extensive experience in the judiciary system, having worked as an assistant prosecutor in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for more than a decade, making efforts to end gun violence and financial fraud.

Later, she turned to legal work for social campaigns like AmeriHealth Caritas and has made medical care into one of her priorities.

Lunkenheimer is part of the LGBTQ community along with her wife, with whom she has three children, and has made diversity another fundamental part of her agenda, as well as reproductive rights, the fight against sexual harassment and immigration.

Mary Gay Scanlon

Considered the "progressive" candidate, Mary Gay Scanlon has made a 35-year career in organizations that benefit children, women and underrepresented rights.

Trained professionally as an attorney, her work has focused on the Pennsylvania Education Law Center in the struggle for access to quality public education.

In politics, she has served on the Wallingford-Swarthmore School Board as well as pro-bono lawyer for refugee and immigrant causes, and in battles for gender equality.

Molly Sheehan

Being an entrepreneur since she was young, this candidate managed to pay for college through working with her community. Now a bioengineer, she has decided to share her progressive program through a political career.

Her agenda includes the single-payer health care system, the minimum wage increase to $15 per hour, the promotion of clean energy, "removing the role of money in political processes," and expanding education to universal pre-K.

Greg Vitali

Graduating from the Villanova University School of Law in 1981, Vitali was a legal professional for 12 years. Since 1993, he has served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives  as the first Democratic legislator in the 166th District.

His agenda focuses on clean energy and climate change, sensitive policies on arms control and government reform.

Theresa Wright

At 39, this early mother and wife has experience in accounting and finance, having worked in part-time positions to survive. After finishing her education, she worked in finance for several companies. She is now the mother of eight children.

She is a "self-taught" business manager and has contributed to non-profit initiatives such as the Improve Yourself and Dare To Compare programs.

Her proposal focuses on youth development opportunities and "becoming the voice of Baby Boomers, Millennials and Generation X" as well as the next generation of leaders.


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