Dent's exit throws open doors in midstate Congressional seat

Written by The Associated Press | Sep 8, 2017 11:33 AM

FILE - In this March 23, 2017, file photo, Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Dent, leader of an influential caucus of GOP moderates in the House, announced he will not seek re-election to an eighth House term next year. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

(Harrisburg) -- The doors are wide open to candidates for the midstate congressional seat that's being vacated by Republican Congressman Charles Dent after next year.

A GOP state lawmaker, Ryan Mackenzie, announced his candidacy today for the 15th District seat, barely 12 hours after Dent announced he wouldn't run next year. Mackenzie's been in office since 2012.

Also running is another Republican state House member, Justin Simmons, who's been in office since 2011, and Democrat Bill Leiner, a former Lehigh County commissioner.
Dent, a former state senator, has held the seat since 2005 and is among a dying breed of centrist Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Based around Allentown for decades, GOP mapmakers in 2011 stretched the district almost 90 miles to the Susquehanna River in central Pennsylvania to make it more Republican.

It includes portions of Berks, Dauphin and Lebanon counties.

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