5 Pa. members of Congress roll dice on primaries

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Five eastern Pennsylvania members of Congress who broke from Republican Party leadership in hopes of ending the federal government shutdown represent districts that were changed to help them get re-elected.

However, political science professor Christopher Borick of Muhlenberg College in Allentown said Friday that the five apparently would rather risk a Republican primary challenge for actions that could benefit them against a Democratic challenger next year.

The five are Reps. Charlie Dent, Lou Barletta, Jim Gerlach, Mike Fitzpatrick and Patrick Meehan. They are all Republicans whose districts were changed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011 to include more registered Republican voters.

None had a primary, and each beat a Democratic challenger handily. However, all those districts except for Barletta’s featured a closely fought contest in last year’s presidential election.

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