|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Pennsylvania's 12th district
|Assumed office |
January 3, 2023
|Preceded by||Mike Doyle|
|Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives|
from the 34th district
December 1, 2018 – December 7, 2022
|Preceded by||Paul Costa|
|Born||November 26, 1987|
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Education||Pennsylvania State University (BA)|
Howard University (JD)
Summer Lynn Lee (born November 26, 1987) is an American community organizer and politician serving as a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the 34th district. 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. Lee is the first black woman to represent Southwestern Pennsylvania in the state legislature.
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.
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. She campaigned for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primaries after graduating.
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. She defeated Costa, 67.8% to 32.2%, attributing her victory to grassroots campaigning. She was unopposed in the general election.
See also: 2022 United States House of Representatives elections in Pennsylvania § District 12
In October 2021, Lee announced her candidacy for Pennsylvania's 18th congressional district after the incumbent representative, Mike Doyle, announced his retirement. 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.
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.
In the November 8 general election, Lee defeated Republican Mike Doyle (no relation to the Democratic incumbent).
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. With elections in the 32nd district, where incumbent Tony DeLuca died in October 2022 but was reelected posthumously to a 21st term, 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. 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.
|Democratic||Paul Costa (incumbent)||3,288||32.23|
Lee lives in Swissvale, Pennsylvania.