Editor's Note: In the final 100 days before Election Day, CNN has been profiling one race at random each day from among the nation's top 100 House races, which we've dubbed "The CNN 100." Read the full list here . Today's featured district is:
Pennsylvania 15: Rep. Charlie Dent (R) defends his seat
Primary: May 18, 2010
Location: Allentown, Bethlehem
Days until the election: 34
This is one of the few races where Democrats are trying for a pick-up. Rep. Charlie Dent (R) is seeking his fourth term in a district that voted for Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008. It is a tough year for the Democrats to (to say the least) but this is one place where they hope to have a shot. Their candidate is local mayor John Callahan.
Callahan, who has served the town of Bethlehem for five years, has the advantage of deep roots in the district, bolstered by the left-leaning electorate. The downside of his candidacy this year: a national environment which is serving as a drag to even the most promising Democratic hopefuls.
Also a downside: the fact that Callahan raised the local sales tax in his town, which gives the GOP a nice little argument as they try to paint him as a "big spending, big deficits" Democrat. One of Dent's latest ads even refers to "financial disaster."
It is a powerful argument, particularly as voters worry about the economy, and it seems to be resonating. A recent poll shows Dent with a more than ten-point lead against Callahan. Senior non-partisan political handicapper Stuart Rothenberg says that the race is now categorized as "Republican favored."
Both candidates are well-funded. Dent has raised a little over $1.7 million compared to Callahan's more than $1.4 million. As we head into the final month before the election, both candidates have enough cash-on-hand - close to a million dollars each - to duel it out to the end.