Summer Lee
Rep. Summer Lee - 118th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 12th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2023 (2023-01-03)
Preceded byMike Doyle
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
from the 34th district
In office
December 1, 2018 – December 7, 2022
Preceded byPaul Costa
Personal details
Born (1987-11-26) November 26, 1987 (age 35)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationPennsylvania State University (BA)
Howard University (JD)
WebsiteCampaign website

Summer Lynn Lee (born November 26, 1987)[1] is an American community organizer and politician serving as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 34th district.[2] With the support of the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, she defeated incumbent Paul Costa in the 2018 Democratic primary election with over 67% of the vote.[3] Lee is the first black woman to represent Southwestern Pennsylvania in the state legislature.[2]

Lee was the Democratic nominee in the 2022 election to represent Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. She won the primary by less than 1% of the vote over her closest opponent, Steve Irwin, the chair of the State Advisory Committee for the United States Commission on Civil Rights. She won the general election, and will become the first Black woman from Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives.[4]

Early life and education

Of African American heritage, Lee was raised in North Braddock, Pennsylvania, and attended Woodland Hills High School. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 2009 and earned a Juris Doctor from the Howard University School of Law in 2015.[1][5][6] She campaigned for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primaries after graduating.[7]

Pennsylvania House of Representatives

See also: 2018 Pennsylvania House of Representatives election

Lee challenged incumbent Representative Paul Costa in the Democratic primary for the 34th district in 2018. An organizer from Pittsburgh's DSA chapter approached her about running after she led a successful write-in campaign for a school board candidate.[7] She defeated Costa, 67.8% to 32.2%, attributing her victory to grassroots campaigning.[8] She was unopposed in the general election.

Committee assignments

U.S House of Representatives



See also: 2022 United States House of Representatives elections in Pennsylvania § District 12

Lee announcing her congressional campaign
Lee announcing her congressional campaign

In October 2021, Lee announced her candidacy for Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district after the incumbent representative, Mike Doyle, announced his retirement.[10] After Pennsylvania's new congressional districts were chosen in February 2022, most of the old 18th district, including Pittsburgh as well as parts of the Mon Valley and Westmoreland County, became the 12th district, and Lee announced she would run there.[11]

Lee won the Democratic primary election on May 17, 2022, defeating rival Steve Irwin. Though Irwin had an early lead on election night with early and mail-in ballots, Lee emerged with a victory of around 740 votes once in-person Election Day votes were counted. She won the Allegheny County portion of the district by almost 4,500 votes. Most networks had declared Lee the winner by May 20, and Irwin conceded that day.[12]

In the November 8 general election, Lee defeated Republican Mike Doyle (no relation to the Democratic incumbent).[13]

Lee simultaneously ran for reelection to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives; she was reelected to a third term with little opposition, but was required to resign the seat to assume her new role in the U.S. House, which she did on December 7, 2022.[14][15] With elections in the 32nd district, where incumbent Tony DeLuca died in October 2022 but was reelected posthumously to a 21st term,[16] and the 35th district, where incumbent Austin Davis was simultaneously reelected to a third full term and elected lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania, an unusual situation arose in which the Democratic Party gained control of the chamber, having won 102 seats to the Republican Party's 101 in the 2022 elections, but would begin the new legislative term with just 99 members, due to these three vacancies in solidly Democratic districts in Allegheny County.[17] This leaves ongoing uncertainty as to who will serve as speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives between the start of the new term on January 3, 2023 and the special elections to fill the three vacant seats, which have been scheduled for February 7.[18][19]

Electoral history


2018 Democratic primary for Pennsylvania State Representative District 34[20]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Summer Lee 6,914 67.77
Democratic Paul Costa (incumbent) 3,288 32.23
Total votes 10,202 100
2018 General election Pennsylvania State Representative District 34[21]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Summer Lee Unopposed
Total votes 21,240 100.0%
Democratic hold


2020 Democratic primary for Pennsylvania State Representative District 34[22]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Summer Lee 11,863 76.36
Democratic Christopher Roland 3,672 23.64
Total votes 15,535 100
2020 General election Pennsylvania State Representative District 34[23]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Summer Lee Unopposed
Total votes 27,129 100.0%
Democratic hold


2022 Democratic primary for U.S. Representative[24]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Summer Lee 48,002 41.9
Democratic Steve Irwin 47,014 41.0
Democratic Jerry Dickinson 12,440 10.9
Democratic Jeff Woodard 5,454 4.8
Democratic William Parker 1,670 1.5
Total votes 114,580 100
2022 Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district election
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Summer Lee 184,674 56.2
Republican Mike Doyle 143,946 43.8
Total votes 328,620 100
Democratic hold

Personal life

Lee lives in Swissvale, Pennsylvania.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Representative Summer Lee". Pennsylvania General Assembly. Retrieved March 23, 2019.
  2. ^ a b Deto, Ryan (May 23, 2018). "Sara Innamorato and Summer Lee say their victories can open doors for non-traditional and minority candidates in Pittsburgh". Pittsburgh City Paper. Retrieved February 2, 2020.
  3. ^ "Pennsylvania Primary Election Results: State Legislature". WTAE-TV. May 16, 2018. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  4. ^ Daniels, Cheyanne M. (November 9, 2022). "Summer Lee becomes first Black woman elected to Congress from Pennsylvania". The Hill. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  5. ^ Taylor Jr., Rob. "Summer Lee strives to brighten her community, as she runs for state House seat". New Pittsburgh Courier. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  6. ^ Griswold, Eliza (May 12, 2018). "The Hard-Left Candidate Taking On the Democratic Establishment in Southwestern Pennsylvania". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c Lancianese, Adelina; Davis, Kathleen (May 15, 2018). "Progressive Summer Lee Defeats Incumbent Paul Costa In 34th State House District". WESA. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  8. ^ Collier, Sean (October 17, 2018). "Q & A: Summer Lee – Why She Won and What's Next". Pittsburgh Magazine. Retrieved October 18, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c "Representative Summer Lee". The official website for the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Retrieved January 17, 2022.
  10. ^ Gregory Krieg (October 19, 2021). "Progressive champion Summer Lee enters Pennsylvania primary to replace retiring Rep. Mike Doyle". CNN. Retrieved October 20, 2021.
  11. ^ Koscinski, Kiley (February 23, 2022). "In new Pennsylvania congressional map, some U.S. House candidates find themselves in new districts". Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  12. ^ Solender, Andrew (May 20, 2022). "Summer Lee wins PA House primary in triumph for the Squad". Axios. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  13. ^ Guza, Megan (November 13, 2022). "How Summer Lee's historic win in Pa.'s 12th congressional district reverberates beyond politics". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  14. ^ Wiggan, Jamie (December 1, 2022). "Four Democratic hopefuls look to succeed Summer Lee in Pa. House". Pittsburgh City Paper. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  15. ^ Wereschagin, Mike (December 7, 2022). "Power struggle in Harrisburg intensifies as Reps. Austin Davis and Summer Lee resign". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  16. ^ Potter, Chris (December 6, 2022). "8 Democrats vie for DeLuca's 32nd House district seat, party will use ranked-choice voting". WESA. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  17. ^ Caruso, Stephen (November 24, 2022). "Pennsylvania House Democrats will lose their majority for at least a few weeks. Here's why". Spotlight PA. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  18. ^ Potter, Chris (December 7, 2022). "Democrats try to secure state House majority in 2023 amid dispute over special elections". WESA. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  19. ^ Schultz, Brooke; Scolforo, Mark (December 7, 2022). "Democrats move to take power with narrow Pa. House majority". Associated Press. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  20. ^ "Allegheny Primary Results 2018". Pennsylvania Secretary of State.
  21. ^ "Allegheny General Results 2018". Pennsylvania Secretary of State.
  22. ^ "Allegheny Primary Results 2020". Pennsylvania Secretary of State.
  23. ^ "Allegheny General Results 2020". Pennsylvania Secretary of State.
  24. ^ "House District 12: Pennsylvania Primary Results (D)". CNN. June 8, 2022. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
Pennsylvania House of Representatives Preceded byPaul Costa Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representativesfrom the 34th district January 1, 2019 – January 3, 2023 Incumbent U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byFred Keller Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Pennsylvania's 12th congressional district January 3, 2023 – present Incumbent