Dent retains seat in 15th District
Several elements came together to give Charlie Dent an easy path to re-election as the U.S. Representative from the 15th Congressional District of Pennsylvania.
The popular Republican had the advantage of incumbency heading into the election.
First elected in 2004, Dent has held onto his seat in Congress with wide margins in recent years.
In addition, Dent faced a lower profile candidate in 2012 in the person of Rick Daugherty, rather than in 2008 when he was also being targeted by the national Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Finally, redistricting shifted Dent's 15th District to the west and eliminated Democratic strongholds in Northampton County.
The district, which long held a sizeable Democratic registration edge despite being served by Republicans Pat Toomey and Dent for over a decade, had been made safer for a Republican through redistricting.
When the votes were cast Nov. 6, unofficial early results show Dent winning by about 40,000 votes with nearly 57 percent of the vote.
The vote was closer in Lehigh County, where Dent pulled approximately 53 percent of the vote, and in Northampton County, where he had a margin of about 10 percent. The more rural and Republican areas in Berks, Dauphin and Lebanon counties saw Dent receive from 63 percent to 68 percent of the vote in what has become more of a safe seat for the GOP.
Dent, a lifelong Lehigh Valley resident, has represented portions of the area for 22 years. He served eight years in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and six years in the state Senate.
Dent will return to Washington with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and an aim to restrain the growth of spending.
He serves on the Appropriations Committee and the Ethics Committee, as well as the Appropriations subcommittees dealing with Homeland Security, state and foreign operations and transportation, housing and urban development.
The congressman will serve all of Lehigh County for the first time following redistricting.
Dent spoke with The Press Nov. 7 following the election.
"I truly want to thank all the people who worked for, supported and voted for me," Dent said. "Their support is deeply appreciated."
Dent said the country faces an enormous fiscal challenge.
"I will do all I can to help get the economy on track," Dent said.
He added the elected officials in Congress need to come together to deal with both tax and spending reforms.
"We need to develop energy resources, open markets and deal with the long-term debt," Dent said. "We need to resolve these issues in a constructive, bipartisan manner."