Politically divided Pennsylvanians will choose presidential candidates in primaries (Part-1).

Harrisburg— After next week's primary election, Pennsylvania's state House and congressional delegation will remain evenly divided between the two parties. Candidates the parties choose April 23 for hundreds of legislative seats might change years of policy stalemate in Harrisburg and partisan deadlock in Congress by November.  

The state's voters will also cast primary ballots for this year's presidential and Senate races. Republicans Donald Trump and Dave McCormick and Democrats Joe Biden and Bob Casey are sure to appear on the fall ballot. Both parties will choose state attorney general candidates, which Republicans held until 2012, when Democrats won.  

Republicans Stacy Garrity, treasurer, and Tim DeFoor, auditor general, will learn which Democrats will challenge them in the fall in the two other statewide “row office” campaigns.  

After months and many special elections, Democrats returned to majority control of the California House last year, electing a speaker in a 102-100 chamber. A Republican resigned in February, leaving one Poconos district seat open for a special election on primary day.  

Republicans want to flip the entire chamber this year to deprive Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro legislative influence in policy and budget debates. Democrats would need to flip at least three seats in the state Senate to take power with Lt. Gov. Austin Davis' tie-breaking vote. Republicans maintain a 28-22 majority.  

Twenty-five Senate seats are up this year, but 12 incumbents have no opponents. Republican and Democratic Senate primaries are being held for Harrisburg and Pittsburgh vacancies. Northern York County's Republican majority district is the third vacancy  

Legal overhaul Nick Pisciottano, a Democrat from Allegheny County, is leaving the House to run for a state Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Jim Brewster, D-Allegheny. Rep. Dawn Keefer, R-York, is leaving the lower chamber to run for Sen. Mike Regan's seat. Rep. Patty Kim of Dauphin County is running against another Democrat for the third Senate district vacated by Sen. John DiSanto, R-Dauphin. Two Republicans want DiSanto's job.  

DiSanto is considered the Senate Democrats' greatest pickup opportunity. Their unlikely majority effort would also require defeating Sen. Dan Laughlin, R-Erie, and Sen. Devlin Robinson, a first-term Republican from western Pittsburgh.  

The GOP's Senate campaign leader, Schuylkill County Sen. Dave Argall, said Brewster's razor-close win four years ago makes it a battleground, but their attempts to stay in the majority are broader. “There will be battles all across the state, but it's still pretty early to predict which ones will top the list,” Argall said.  

Nearly half of the 203 House seats, slightly more Democrats than Republicans, have no primary or general election opponents this year and can run again in January. Only nine Republican and four Democratic House seats are open this cycle. Retiring members include Berks County Rep. Mark Rozzi, who briefly served as House speaker early last year before Democrats could elect their first candidate, Philadelphia Speaker Joanna McClinton.  

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