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Op-Ed Columnist: Women Win; Men Take a Powder

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Charlie Dent, a moderate Republican, had already been planning to retire at the end of the year. But suddenly, he was leaving right away. And off he went.

Dent didn’t really offer an explanation. But use your imagination. Do you think he’d have said it was because:

A) “Pennsylvanians have started to treat Republicans like bark beetles.”

B) “New district bad.”

C) “Just tired. So very, very tired.”

My guess is C. If you’re a person like Dent, who brags about giving “voice to the sensible center,” it’s easy to understand feeling that this might not really be your moment.

Anyhow, Dent’s gone and Democrats have great hopes that his successor will be Susan Wild, an attorney. And that Costello’s district will be taken by Chrissy Houlahan, a businesswoman and former Air Force engineer.

Houlahan, who has no political background, was one of the thousands of women who responded to Donald Trump’s victory by desperately seeking a way to get involved. “She called us the day after the march and said she’d decided to run for office,” recalled Stephanie Schriock, the head of Emily’s List. At the time, Houlahan didn’t even know what office that might be. And now here she is.

Pennsylvania wasn’t the only state nominating congressional candidates this week. The Democratic establishment was disappointed when primary voters in Nebraska picked Kara Eastman, a nonprofit executive, over former Representative Brad Ashford, who was regarded as more salable even though he seems to have switched parties as often as he changed socks. I can see where you’d like voters to think strategically, but gee.

Over in Idaho, Paulette Jordan won the Democratic nomination for governor to replace the departing Butch Otter. If she wins — and no Democrat has done that since the year “Driving Miss Daisy” won the Best Picture award — she’d become the first Native American governor.

On the other side, Representative Raúl Labrador lost the race for the Republican governor’s nomination. This is not going to make any impact on your life, but I just wanted to point out, sadly, that we will probably never again have a chance to use “Raúl Labrador” and “Butch Otter” in the same sentence.


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