Republican Wins US House Seat in Pennsylvania Special Election

May 22, 2019 Updated: May 22, 2019

Republican Fred Keller won the special election in Pennsylvania to fill a House of Representatives seat that has been vacant for four months.

Keller secured 68 percent of the vote to defeat Democrat Marc Friedenberg. Republican Tom Marino vacated the seat in January. Keller will serve the rest of Marino’s term, which ends in 2021.

“I’m honored to have the support of the hardworking people of the 12th Congressional District and for their trust in electing me to represent them in Congress,” Keller said in a statement. “Tonight is the beginning of us working together to address the issues that the people have told us will positively impact every family across central and northeast Pennsylvania.”

President Donald Trump held a rally in Pennsylvania ahead of the election to support Keller. Trump received 66 percent of the vote in the state in 2016.

“Great news for Republicans: Fred Keller has just won the hard fought for Pennsylvania Congressional contest in a LANDSLIDE, over 70% of the vote,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to the thousands who showed up for the Rally last night. Congratulations to Fred and his wonderful family!”

Keller had served as a state representative in Pennsylvania since 2010. Prior to public service, he worked as a plant manager at a custom wood cabinets manufacturing facility, managing 230 employees and a $50 million annual budget.

Keller is active in the community, having served on a parents’ council for a local high school and as an auditor for a local township. He has a wife and two children.

In a campaign ad, Keller targeted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying that “Pennsylvania’s families don’t want her socialist policies and government overreach.”

“[Pennsylvania] voters left no doubt last night. Freedom > Socialism,” House Republican leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) wrote on Twitter.

Democrats won the majority in the House of Representatives during the 2018 midterm election. With Keller, the Democrat–Republican breakdown will shift to 235–190 in the House. Two more seats are vacant.

“Fred Keller ran a great campaign and talked about his support for ideas that all Americans can get behind: a better economy, more jobs, and getting government out of the way,” Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Val DiGiorgio said in a statement.

“As he now heads to Congress, we look forward to supporting Fred and the entire Pennsylvania Republican Congressional delegation as they work to implement the pro-growth policies that have kept this economy booming, support President Trump, and represent Pennsylvania’s interests in Washington,” DiGiorgio added.

Keller is a member of the National Rifle Association. Trump cast him as a defender of the Second Amendment during the rally on May 20.

“But we have a man who’s a special man, he’s a successful businessman and owner,” Trump said. “He believes in protecting the border, defending our Second Amendment. He’s not letting anything happen to your Second Amendment. And you know what? If we aren’t smart, it’ll end for you with the Second Amendment.”

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