A few Democrats are trying to take on Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional district

January 5 – For the last five years, Congressman John Joyce has represented Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional district, which consists of Franklin, Fulton, Adams and pieces of Cumberland counties. 

Joyce is looking for another term this year. 

A Democrat, Beth Farnham, is looking to make a run, too. 

Farnham is going to make it official a week from today in Gettysburg. 

Farnham’s website says she would like to “recreate a functioning Congress” and “defend public education” and “enshrine our reproductive freedoms and gun safety.”

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM suggested, “I think Congressman Joyce doesn’t have too much of a problem with this candidate that looks to be coming on the scene.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “The Democrats typically do run a candidate and I think she may be the second candidate. There’s a Padraic Lee, another Democrat, that I believe has indicated he is also intending to run for this seat. If I’m correct, Beth has been around for a while in the sense that I think she may have considered running for this office in the past. She may have even run for this or other offices in the past. The reality is the Democrats don’t have a chance whether it’s her or any Democrat, for this matter. This is a heavily Republican district. There is no realistic scenario that a Democrat would win. But to the Democrats credit, they do run a candidate, they will get issues out there. They will do their best to force Dr. Joyce to engage in some of these discussions and that’s healthy, that’s all a good thing.”

Could a Republican run? 

Barkdoll said, “Remember two years ago there was that odd dynamic where that law professor, Republican from Gettysburg as I recall, he was a Rhodes scholar, was a law professor in Washington, actually circulated and filed a petition to get on the Republican ballot and then withdrew. I’ve heard nothing about anything like that happening now. But again, we’re getting into prime time for people to start circulating petitions. I’ll say now and I thought this two years ago, I think Dr. Joyce is popular. I mean, I don’t think there’s a lot of issues that people would be out there attacking him, trying to oust him from office. I think he’s well liked. He’s clearly very conscientious about his job. I mean, we see here on the radio station, whether you agree or disagree with his policies, you can’t disagree with the fact that he’s accessible. I mean, we hear more from him than any of his predecessors for decades. I think voters, there’s value to that. I mean, people look at that, and they recognize that at least he’s out there trying. So I think he’s the favorite to be reelected, but we’ll see who else might jump in here over the next few weeks.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM noted, “She is a former Conewago Valley School District School Board Director. I don’t see a lot of other runs listed. They said she ran an unsuccessful write-in campaign against a three term Republican for the school district. So it sounds like school is what she’s most concerned about in the past.” 

Ryan said, “Public education. Are we concerned about parents? I mean, it was Josh Shapiro that said, well, school choice. So I wonder what we’ll hear out of defending public education, or are we on the side of the unions and the money laundering there to Democrat campaigns or are we on the side of parents?” 

Jansen said, “Again, education is what we should care about not public schools, per se, if they can’t live up to their charter, which they don’t, aren’t and haven’t been living up to. Yes, it varies among the different school districts. I get that, but we know overall, it’s a dismal picture in the country and we really need to start finding alternatives or change the way public education is done.” 

Ryan added, “Don’t tell me you don’t have any money. You’re flush with cash.”

Barkdoll agreed, “I do know that she served on the school board. She’s from Adams County. In the past, I want to also say when these candidates have run, we typically invite them in for an interview. They usually accept it. I can recall interviewing some of these folks over the years and I’ve always been struck that many times they will openly admit they know they can’t win, but they’re out there just trying to bring issues to the public’s attention. They want to make sure the Democrats have a voice on the ballot. And look, there’s something to be said for that. I mean, I’m sure she doesn’t realistically think she’s going to pull this off. But hey, if she can get the signatures and get on the ballot, good for her.”