Electing Pennsylvania's First Black Congresswoman

Electing Pennsylvania's First Black Congresswoman

Electing Pennsylvania's First Black Congresswoman

Summer Lee

State Representative Summer Lee started the race for the open 12th Congressional District primary as a frontrunner. She sported a strong, well-defined brand in the district. No one else running had a profile in the district. Still, because of her record as a progressive and someone who stood up to powerful corporate special interests, money began flowing in to stop Summer.

Ethan conducted research that helped pinpoint Lee’s strengths and how to push back against the attacks the campaign expected. We beat back this onslaught by:

Showing Summer’s authenticity. Our research showed that Summer was well-known, well-liked, and well-defined, particularly among younger voters and Black voters. So, we had Summer do paid communication direct to camera and pushed for as much earned media coverage as we could grab because the data clearly showed that Summer was a strong messenger for herself.

Highlighted the historic nature of her candidacy. Our research also showed that voters, particularly Black voters, younger voters and college educated women, wanted Congress to look more like America. We did not shy away from the barriers Summer was breaking.

Pushed back hard on deceitful attacks. We took the attacks head on. We called them lies from dark money super PACs and highlighted third party validators like the local papers that denounced the ads. This had a dramatic effect helping negate the negative ads.

Summer Lee defeated the super PACs preferred candidate despite a 5 to 1 spending disadvantage to become Pittsburgh’s first Black Congressperson and Pennsylvania’s first Black Congresswoman.

Partners: Rebecca Pearcey at Bryson Gillette, Westley Bayas III at Berlin Rosen, and Abby Gardner at Scottie Public Affairs.