Who's the better Democrat to challenge Congressman Smucker?
A self-described "center-left" candidate has cited his upcoming Democratic primary opponent's "very limited work experience" and recent election losses to stress he has the best lane to flip the 11th Congressional District.
Paul Daigle, who lives in Lancaster and works as a student employment manager at Franklin & Marshall College, is challenging Sarah Hammond for their party's nomination to challenge Republican Rep. Lloyd Smucker.
Daigle said Hammond has "limited work experience."
"And while she has run for office before, her lack of success does not suggest she will do any better in this race," he added. "She lost her first race by 37 points and her second race by 41.2 points."
Last year, Hammond lost the state's 33rd Senate District special election to now-state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, who took 69.5% of the vote.
In 2018, she lost the state's 169th House District race to Rep. Kate Klunk, R-Hanover, who took 70.6% of the vote.
Daigle said Hammond "is a person of passion and a great deal of promise" despite her lack of political success.
Even now, he said, he's focused more on a November run against Smucker, a two-term incumbent.
A member of the Manheim Township Democratic Committee, Daigle maintains that running a campaign focused on transparency and accountability will bring down Smucker and demonstrate how broken Beltway politics are.
If elected, he said, weekly call logs would be posted so constituents can identify exactly who he talks to. He would also hold a minimum of 12 town halls a year, he added.
"I’m very aware of how red our district is," Daigle said. "But I wouldn’t be in this race if I didn’t think it was important or didn’t have a strategy to try win. ... Congressman Smucker is weak in a lot of these areas."
Daigle's policy priorities echo those of Democratic hopefuls nationwide, whose top concerns include climate change and social issues.
More specifically, his agenda is set on "bold action" on climate change, advocating for better Social Security funding, increasing education funding and raising the minimum wage, he said.
The challenge would come as Smucker maintained the seat without much issue in the last four years.
That includes since new district lines were drawn by the state Supreme Court. Smucker easily beat progressive Democrat Jess King by 18 percentage points in the 2018 general election.
— Logan Hullinger can be reached at email@example.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.