Key U.S. House battleground forged in Pennsylvania

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats’ quest to take control of the U.S. House of Representatives and stymie President Donald Trump’s agenda began in earnest on Tuesday after voters in Pennsylvania chose a slate of nominees to compete in a pivotal battleground state.

Democrats must wrest 23 seats nationwide from Republicans to take over the House, and analysts say the party could gain as many as five seats in Pennsylvania alone in the general congressional election in November.

The most closely watched race was in the district around Allentown, Pennsylvania, where a bevy of Democrats battled to replace incumbent U.S. Representative Charlie Dent, one of the few remaining moderate Republicans in the House.

The Democratic field in that contest was viewed as a conflict between the progressive and centrist wings of a party still trying to find its footing in the Trump Era.

As it turned out, the most traditional Democrat in the race, Susan Wild, who was endorsed by the influential advocacy group Emily’s List, won the nomination, narrowly edging moderate John Morganelli, who opposes abortion rights.

The liberal political-action group NextGen America, backed by activist Tom Steyer, worked to defeat Morganelli and said in a statement that Wild’s victory showed Democrats that “to win elections, we don’t need to moderate our vision or accept compromise on our fundamental values”.

Scott Wallace won the nomination in another district northeast of Philadelphia that…

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