Campaign 2020: Gun-violence PAC Brady is getting into two key Pa. congressional races

Highlighting the important role that Pennsylvania still has to play in the 2020 general election, the anti-gun violence group, Brady PAC says it’s getting involved in two very different Keystone State congressional races.

In an exclusive interview, the PAC’s executive director, Brian M. Lemek, confirmed that the group is endorsing U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle’s, D-2nd District, re-election bid, and will be supporting U.S. Rep. Susan Wild’s, D-7th District’s, bid for a second term this fall.

Boyle, whose district includes a good-sized piece of Philadelphia and part of Montgomery County, romped to re-election in 2018, defeating Republican David Torres 79-21 percent in 2018, according to Ballotpedia.  Torres is reprising his bid in 2020, according to records filed with the Department of State.

In an interview, Lemek said the PAC was supporting Boyle, not because they were worried he was vulnerable, but rather because of his stalwart votes on bills aimed at stemming gun violence. Boyle, for instance, has voted in favor of bills expanding background checks for firearms sales.

“He is a true champion for the cause,” Lemek said. “He is on every piece of legislation that comes out; He represents a community disproportionally affected by gun violence. We know he’s working on this issue. We think the world of him.”

Wild, who won the Lehigh Valley’s redrawn 7th Congressional District in 2018 by defeating Republican Marty Nothstein, will face the eventual winner of what is now a two-way Republican primary race. Long a swing district, The 7th District seat leans Democratic for 2020, according to the non-partisan Cook Political Report.

Wild “represents a district where there are many firearms used for different reasons,” Lemek said, referring not only to the region’s vigorous hunting tradition, but also the gun violence that has plagued such cities as Allentown.

“We have to protect and defend these [lawmakers] … That’s a hold that’s really important [to us],” he said. “The messaging she’s putting out on safe storage really resonates with everyone.”

With the nation in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lemek was realistic about the chances of Congress moving on any piece of gun-violence prevention legislation. Bills approved by the majority-Democrat U.S.  House remain in park in the Republican-controlled Senate.

“Nothing is going to come to a vote in the next week,” he said. “And we know it would pass the House and die in the Senate. That’s why we’re working so hard. There are champions running for House and Senate, and we’re making sure they’re heard, so they’re elected in November.”

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