Marc Friedenberg is not a politician. He is an academic. A particular kind of academic. He is a graduate of Columbia law school and an expert in cyber law and internet privacy. While in practice, he sued big banks for fraud. He saw the banks as centers of greed, corruption, and carelessness.
Susan Wild has been honored by the Governor, by the Lehigh Valley Business Council. She was named one of Pennsylvania's top 50 women attorneys. She is on several civic boards. She has had tough and interesting cases in her career. Her toughest, though, was serving as City Solicitor in Allentown during an investigation of corruption. For her work during that investigation, she earned praise from the FBI.
Scott Wallace is conscious of a family predecessors: farmers, writers, entrepreneurs, business exeuctives, philanthropists, and a vice president under FDR. He has been a business executive and a philanthropist. Now he is seeking to expand his influence by serving in Congress.
Conor Lamb is the Democratic nominee for the special election on March 13. He is local -- University of Pennsylvania (where he was a Howard Dean supporter as an undergraduate) and University of Pennsylvania Law School. He comes from a successful political family. His grandfather was the Democratic Majority Leader in the Pennsylvania state Senate and a Bob Casey cabinet member. His Uncle Michael is the City Controller for Pittsburgh. Conor Lamb was in the military. He was a Captain in the Marines. as a prosecutor in Okinawa, primarily prosecuting cases of sexual assault. He remains a member of the reserves. He is a prosecutor in civilian life, as well.
Chrissy Houlahan was a captain in the US Air Force -- three years active duty, thirteen in the Inactive Reserve. She has been a businesswoman, working as the Chief Operating Officer and transforming a start up into a national apparel and footwear brand. She founded and served as COO of B-Lab,"a nonprofit organization that serves a global movement of people using business as a force for good." For variety, she worked as a chemistry teacher in North Philadelphia with Teach for America and served as COO/CFO of an early childhood education nonprofit.
Tom Wolf ran for Governor in 2014, beat strong opponents in the Democratic primary and beat the incumbent governor in the general election to become Pennsylvania's 47th governor. He is running for reelection. He was stubborn. He rejected a Republican deal. In exchange for the education funding he wanted, the Republicans wanted "pension reform" and the privatization of state liquor stores. Instead, he found that mysterious line item in the budget called "waste" and eliminated it.
Matt Cartwright is not exactly a Liberal Democrat in Trump country, but he is not a Trump Democrat either. How he approaches a controversial issue is instructive. On health care, he created a panel of more than twenty leading local figures to identify weaknesses in the Affordable Care Act. The donors were Democrats and Republicans. While waiting for the report he signed on for he the Medicare for All proposal. He seems to have figured out how not to be all or nothing, how to listen to locals about an important issue, and how to make sure that the locals he listens to are both independent and loyal enough not to be destructive.
First Pennsylvania Auditor General; then State Treasurer, Bob Casey, Jr got a couple of phone calls. Senator Harry Reid called. Senator Chuck Schumer called. Each urged him to run for the Senate. HIs father, Bob Casey Sr. had been governor. That was the office he coveted. In the Senate, he was a moderate Democrat. Recently, though, he created a new signature issue. He is creating an identity that is not so moderate. He is just plain angry at Donald Trump. He showed up at the airport to greet refugees who Trump banned. When James Comey was fired, Bob Casey Jr called Trump's behavior Nixonian. In a state that was part of Hillary's failed firewall, he is vying to be a leader of the resistance.