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First TV ad in PA-12 brings familiar attacks against U.S. Rep. Summer Lee

Credit: Pennsylvania Captial-Star

John Cole, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
February 16, 2024

The first television ad of the 2024 cycle in the primary race for Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District goes after incumbent Summer Lee, using some of the same attacks she’s faced in past elections, as well as some talking points more traditionally associated with Republican candidates.  

In the 30-second spot, candidate Laurie MacDonald, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit Center for Victims, calls herself a “law and order Democrat.”

MacDonald told the Capital-Star in an email that her experience at the Center for Victims gave her insight into “trauma and tragedy that soft on crime policies bring to communities,” adding that she would “prioritize victims and survivors over criminals with every policy and every vote.” 

“If you’re sick and tired of all the divisive rhetoric and the us versus them mentality, I’m with you,” MacDonald says in the ad. 

When asked what “us versus them” referred to, MacDonald’s campaign said that Lee has aligned herself “with the most radical wing of the Democrat party” claiming “that’s not where most voters in our community stand.” 

Lee’s campaign declined to comment. Edgewood Borough Councilmember Bhavini Patel, who is also seeking the Democratic Party nomination for the seat, declined to comment as well.

The MacDonald campaign told the Capital-Star that the ad buy, which is $6,000, will air 150 spots on cable news.

MacDonald is not the first Democrat in this cycle to run on a “law and order” platform; Tom Suozzi won a special election in NY-03 this week — flipping the seat blue in the process — after expressing support for more funding for law enforcement. And MacDonald isn’t the first Allegheny County politician to claim the “law-and-order Democrat” label. 

Longtime Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala frequently referred to himself as a “law-and-order Democrat” during his 2023 reelection campaign. Zappala lost the Democratic Party primary to progressive candidate Matt Dugan in May, but received enough write-in votes to run on the Republican ballot in the November general election, and won.

During the 2022 race for the 12th District, Lee, a progressive Democrat, was the subject of attack ads similar to MacDonald’s that claimed she was a “bad Democrat” and referring to her as a “radical.” 

Lee narrowly defeated Steve Irwin for the Democratic Party nomination for the seat in 2022 and defeated Republican Mike Doyle by 12 points in the general election to become the first Black woman to represent Pennsylvania in Congress. 

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.