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Summer Lee defeats Bhavini Patel in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District primary

Lee defeats Patel in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District primary: AP projects
Lee defeats Patel in Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District primary: AP projects 04:16

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Summer Lee has defeated Bhavini Patel in the Democratic primary for Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District, the Associated Press projects. With 98% of ballots counted Wednesday morning, Lee had just over 60% of the votes.

It was one of the most contentious races on Tuesday's ballot, featuring the incumbent Lee against Patel, an Edgewood councilwoman. The district includes Pittsburgh, the Mon Valley, parts of the South Hills and Westmoreland County.

"We have rejected in this district that you can't be a bold progressive in Western Pennsylvania because Western Pennsylvania, we say it all the time, is the blueprint for this nation," Lee said in her victory speech on Tuesday. 

During her speech in front of a few hundred people, Lee thanked her team, supporters and family. In the 15-minute speech, she called out critics and criticism of her style and view on issues, including her call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Lee added that she wants to continue her goal of working for people who have been left behind.

Lee went on to say that her race is just part of a bigger picture for Democrats and progressives. She said there needs to be support up and down the ballot in November if there will be anything done for their agenda. 

"We know that we're going to have to perform big here in Allegheny County," Lee said. "So, I like to hope that all parts of our party are going to come together. It's not just the progressive wing that has to come out. The conservative wing, the moderate wing, they're going to have to pull their weight, too. We all have to come together now to do this." 

In a post on Tuesday on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Patel thanked her supporters and said she is "grateful" despite the loss. 

"Everything is on the line this November – and the work is just getting started," she posted.

Before the election, Lee, Pennsylvania's first Black woman elected to Congress, told KDKA-TV that she's used to tough election fights. 

"I've never not been challenged so, no, I'm not surprised at all. And you know what, when I first came into the state House, six years ago, I challenged an incumbent," Lee told KDKA-TV earlier this month. 

To see the results in the Lee-Patel race, select "District 12" from the dropdown menu below: 

In an interview with KDKA-TV this month, Patel said Lee has abandoned President Joe Biden in favor of an ultra-left-wing agenda that doesn't represent the region. She added that Lee is caught up in the agenda represented by New York's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other very progressive congresswomen that she often votes against Democratic bills supported by Biden and most Democrats.

Lee, who has been in Congress for 15 months, defended herself, saying that Democrats did not need her vote to pass the bills Patel cited and that it was important to send a message to marginalized communities.

Lee, who had the support of Sens. Bob Casey and John Fetterman, Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato, moves on to the general election in November to face Republican James Hayes. He ran uncontested on Tuesday. 

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