Lee wins Democratic primary in historic run for Congress


State Rep. Summer Lee, seeking the Democratic Party nomination for Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district, speaks to supporters before receiving an endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., during a stop campaign in Pittsburgh, Thursday, May 12, 2022. Pennsylvania’s primary election is Tuesday, May 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Rebecca Droke)

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Summer Lee won a five-candidate Democratic primary for a seat in the Pittsburgh-based U.S. House of Representatives, making her the favorite in the heavily Democratic district to win the fall general election and become the first black woman elected to the Pennsylvania Congress.

Friday was the fourth day of counting ballots after Tuesday’s primary in the tight race for the open District 12 seat.

A second-term member of the state House of Representatives, a lawyer and a former labor organizer, Lee hails from the progressive wing of the party. She was endorsed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the two-time presidential candidate and a leading voice on the left wing of the Democratic Party who came to campaign for Lee.

Lee beat out second place Steve Irwin, who was endorsed by the Allegheny County Democratic Party and endorsed by prominent county Democrats.

The seat is open because Rep. Mike Doyle, first elected in 1994, will not run again. It also has new boundaries since Pennsylvania’s congressional districts were redrawn to account for a decade of demographic shifts identified by the 2020 Census.

Lee will face the Republican candidate of the same name as outgoing Democratic incumbent Mike Doyle in the fall general election.

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