U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, the incumbent Republican candidate representing Lancaster County and parts of York County in Pennsylvania, defeated Democratic challenger Jess King, a Mennonite, in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.
Smucker won by about 18 percentage points over King, who raised $1.6 million, more than any previous Lancaster Democrat and the same amount as Smucker, according to a Nov. 6 article published at LancasterOnline.com.
King graduated from Lancaster Mennonite High School in 1992 and Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 1996. From 1997 to 1998, King was assistant editor of Gospel Herald, one of the two publications that merged to form The Mennonite. She was executive director of PULSE, a young adult service program in Pittsburgh founded by Mennonites in Pittsburgh.
Smucker, who was born into an Amish family and graduated from Lancaster Mennonite High School in 1981, credited his win to his record and promises he made and kept in his race two years ago, namely tax reform and regulatory relief. “It’s a great record to run on,” he said, according to the LancasterOnline.com article.
Jonathan Smucker, a Mennonite political organizer who was profiled in the October issue of The Mennonite and has worked with Lancaster Stands Up to support King, quoted her in a tweet as she conceded the race: “We got closer than anyone thought we would. We closed the gap. We made Lloyd Smucker and the PA GOP realize this is not a safe district they can take for granted.”
Pennsylvania’s 11th congressional district is widely viewed as a Republican stronghold, and Republicans have a 100,000-voter registration advantage in the district.
The local ABC news affiliate released poll numbers from Susquehanna Polling & Research on Oct. 30, a week before the midterms, showing Smucker at 50 percent and King at 46 percent, with a 5.6 percent margin of error.
In an Associated Press article published Nov. 2 by the Washington Post, Smucker acknowledged “it is definitely a competitive race.”
With 97 percent of precincts reporting as of Nov. 7, King received 112,605 votes, and Smucker received 162,227.
Vice President Mike Pence campaigned for Smucker, while U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders campaigned for King.