Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Summer Lee

State Rep. Summer Lee is running in the Democratic primary to represent Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District. (Photo: Summer Lee for Congress)

Progressive Summer Lee Nabs 25-Point Lead Over Corporate Lawyer in US House Primary: Poll

The former labor organizer is running to represent Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District.

Julia Conley

With just over a month to go until Pennsylvania's primary election, progressive state Rep. Summer Lee holds a 25-point lead over her two Democratic opponents in the race to succeed Rep. Mike Doyle in the 12th Congressional District.

"It's clear the voters of PA-12 are fired up and ready to send a working-class champion from their community to Washington, D.C."

In a poll commissioned by EMILY's List, which supports pro-choice women running for office, 38% of respondents said they supported Lee, while corporate attorney Steve Irwin and University of Pittsburgh professor Jerry Dickinson received 13% and 7% of the vote, respectively.

Lee was elected to the state House in 2018 after working as a labor organizer with the Fight for $15 movement and leading voter mobilization efforts for the state Democratic Party. As a legislator, she has stopped a fracking proposal in her home district and supported proposals to provide healthcare to striking workers and prohibit late fees on rent payments during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She supports Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, and free, universal pre-kindergarten.

"Summer Lee is the bold and inspiring leader we need to secure victory of the must-win open seat," Laphonza Butler, president of EMILY's List, said in a statement. "With five weeks to go until the Democratic primary, it's clear the voters of PA-12 are fired up and ready to send a working-class champion from their community to Washington, D.C. and make history by electing the state's first Black congresswoman."

Along with EMILY's List, Lee has garnered endorsements from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Justice Democrats, the Sunrise Movement, and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), among other groups.

Irwin, who came in second in the poll taken between March 26 and 31, has received funding from corporate lobbyists and the CEO of a fossil fuel company, according to Federal Election Commission records.

In contrast with Lee's background as a labor organizer, Irwin has defended companies against fair wage and discrimination lawsuits as well as Americans With Disabilities Act claims. He is currently a lawyer with Leech Tishman, a firm which has provided union-busting services to companies.

"Voters need to read and see that Steve Irwin built his career as a corporate lawyer putting corporations and profits first," Lee's website says.

Irwin is trailing Lee, according to the recent poll, despite leading the field in fundraising.

"Summer Lee can win," Winnie Wong, former advisor to Sanders, tweeted last week.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

As Evisceration of Roe Looms, Poll Finds Support for Abortion Rights at New High

The findings come on the heels of nationwide marches in defense of reproductive rights.

Andrea Germanos ·

Kagan Pens Scathing Dissent as Supreme Court Kills Another Campaign Finance Rule

"In allowing those payments to go forward unrestrained, today's decision can only bring this country's political system into further disrepute," wrote Justice Elena Kagan.

Jake Johnson ·

Jailed Palestinian Lawyer Implores ICC to Probe Israeli 'Crimes Against Humanity' in East Jerusalem

"We urge the ICC prosecutor to take active and concrete investigative steps in order to break the cycle of impunity for perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Palestine."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Oil Fuels War': Greenpeace Activists Block Tanker Carrying Russian Diesel to UK

"To stand up to Putin, bring bills down, and tackle climate change, the prime minister must get us off fossil fuels as fast as possible."

Kenny Stancil ·

Bezos Praises Manchin for Blocking Biden's Corporate Tax Hike

"Biden's plan was to make billionaires and corporations pay their fair share in taxes, and use that money to help families," said one critic. "Of course a billionaire owner of a $1.1 trillion corporation doesn't like that."

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo