Pennsylvania 12 special election: Is Marino’s seat at risk?

North Carolina’s 9th District was the clear front-runner to host the first congressional election of 2019 until Republican Tom Marino announced his resignation from Pennsylvania’s 12th District. The seat has a significant GOP lean to it, but Republicans seem to find new ways to make special elections closer and more competitive than they should be.

The four-term congressman said Thursday he would be leaving Jan. 23 for a job in the private sector. Marino was re-elected last November with 66 percent and just began his fifth term. 

There was some initial speculation that this was bad sign for Republicans because it could be the beginning of a GOP exodus. But it also might not be a sign of anything.

Missouri GOP Rep. Jo Ann Emerson resigned from Congress on Jan. 22, 2013, for a job in the private sector and Republicans went on to gain 13 seats in the midterms the following year. And we knew Marino wasn’t long for his current job. In 2017, President Donald Trump tried to appoint him as the nation’s drug czar. The congressman eventually withdrew his name after reports that he sponsored a bill that hampered efforts to combat the opioid crisis. It’s not a surprise he found another way off the Hill.

The 12th District, which includes parts of central and northeast Pennsylvania and was redrawn before the 2018 elections, voted for Trump 66 percent to 30 percent, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. It also supported Mitt Romney 62-37 percent in 2012 and John…

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