Potential Casey, Barletta Showdown on Tap?

9 Pennsylvania is primed for a big 2018 election season across the commonwealth, highlighted by races for governor, a U.S. Senate seat and competition for both seats representing the Valley in the U.S. Congress in Washington.

Even with a gubernatorial race, the one to watch in Pennsylvania — and for most of the nation — will be for Bob Casey’s Senate seat which he has held since 2006. Casey, a Democrat and vocal opponent since President Donald Trump was sworn in, is likely to face Rep. Lou Barletta, one of Trump’s earliest supporters, in a state that lifted the president to victory in 2016.

The race for the seat will be judged nationally as another referendum on President Trump, Franklin & Marshall Poll leader G. Terry Madonna said.

“Modern mid-term elections are a referendum on a president,” Madonna said. “Trump’s job performance right now is in the low 30th percentile. Barletta was one of Trump’s earliest supporters. He’s considered a surrogate. They agree on immigration."

In the 10th District, after twice flirting with the drug czar post in the Trump Administration, Tom Marino seeks a fifth term. Like Barletta, the race for the 10th will likely be a referendum on the president, but Marino has easily won each of his elections to statewide office and would be a favorite against any opponent in 2018.

Marino will even face a primary challenge after Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko announced he would run. Judy Herschel, a former drug counselor from Susquehanna County is the lone Democrat running so far.

The Valley will have a new representative in the 11th with Barletta challenging Casey. Republican Dan Meuser — a former revenue secretary under Gov. Tom Corbett — is running along with state Rep. Stephen Bloom, Berwick councilman Andrew Schector, project manager Andrew Lewis and Sean Donohue. On the other side, Democrats Denny Wolff — a former ag secretary under Gov. Ed Rendell, and veteran Alan Howe have announced their candidacies.