https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/chris-queen/2022/11/01/name-confusion-is-just-one-factor-in-an-intriguing-race-in-pennsylvania-n1641755

Rep Mike Doyle (D-Penn.) has served in Congress since 1995 when he won the seat that Rick Santorum vacated to run for Senate. He announced his intention to retire at the end of this term after the state redistricted much of his district into the 12th.

In one of those quirks of fate that can leave you shaking your head and saying, “only in 2022,” the Republican running for Doyle’s seat is also named Mike Doyle. No joke.

Doyle the Republican is taking advantage of the situation with a clever hashtag, #TheRightMike. “In order to restore sanity in Washington we can’t send extremists to represent us in DC,” he says on his website. “I’ll bring common sense solutions to the halls of Congress and help get our region back to work.” He’s running against Democrat Summer Lee.

Rep. Doyle told WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR station, “I at first thought, ‘Oh, nobody’s going to be fooled by that.’” But as you might expect, the same-named candidate is creating some minor headaches.

“The name confusion in Pennsylvania’s 12th has led at least some Democratic voters to mistakenly vote by mail against Lee, according to her campaign manager Abigail Gardner,” writes Andrew Solender at Axios.

Solender quotes Gardner as saying, “It’s come up, but it’s not every voter. It’s a lot of older folks who are just used to voting for [Rep. Doyle] and think maybe he switched parties. Overwhelmingly our conversations are people who thought Summer was running unopposed.”

Other Democrats are lamenting the name issue as well.

“They say, ‘I’m not going to vote for Summer Lee because she’s running against Mike Doyle,’” Katie Forsythe of Westmoreland County’s Democratic Committee said, adding that her volunteers are concentrating on “just trying to inform them that Mike Doyle is not who they think that he is. He’s the GOP candidate. He’s not the current person who is holding that office.”

Lee’s campaign has tried to clear up the confusion with ads and texts, while a Democrat PAC is lending a helping hand as well. But that’s not all of Lee’s problems.

Related: What Are Early Voting Trends Telling Us?

For starters, the race has gotten competitive enough that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has gotten her PAC involved in the race.

The Squad has jumped into the race as well, prompting Doyle the Republican to masterfully go after them in a tweet thread.

Another issue that makes a difference in this campaign is the fact that Lee is a radical Democrat, as opposed to the retiring incumbent, who is somewhat more moderate. Doyle the Democrat endorsed Lee’s less radical rival in the primaries, and he stopped short of fully supporting her in the general election.

WESA reports, “In his Thursday conference, Congressman Doyle said ‘I support all the Democrats running on the ticket,’ but did not name Lee specifically. The meeting with reporters was held in his Congressional office, he noted, and ‘this is not meant to be a political announcement. … I’m not telling people who to vote for. I merely think it’s the responsible thing to do … to make sure they know who’s on the ballot and who isn’t.’”

Both RealClearPolitics and Decision Desk HQ have this district rated as “Likely Democrat,” while FiveThirtyEight claims that “Lee is clearly favored to win Pennsylvania’s 12th District.” With a week to go, it’ll be interesting to see what happens in this race.

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