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FILE: Rep. Thomas Marino, R-Pa., flanked by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, left, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., right, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Sept. 23, 2011. (Susan Walsh/AP Photo)

(Harrisburg) — Congressional elections in Pennsylvania could help determine which party takes control of the US House after the midterms.

But some districts may not see a debate between candidates.

Incumbent Republican Congressman Tom Marino has declined a debate invitation by the League of Women Voters, due to scheduling conflicts.

His Democratic challenger in the 12th Congressional District, Marc Friedenberg, said Marino hasn’t accepted any such invitations.

That’s disappointing to Friedenberg.


Democratic candidate for the 12th Congressional District Marc Friedenberg. (Photo courtesy:

“Voters do need to be able to see and hear from both candidates to see where they stand on the issues,” Friedenberg said. “But then, maybe more fundamentally, how much they really care about the democratic process. I think debates are a really important part of that.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for Marino said, “Congressman Marino makes it a priority to speak with all constituents as often as possible. There are a number of events scheduled throughout the district that provide constituents an opportunity to interact with Congressman Marino and he is looking forward to those events.”

Friedenberg said meeting with the Congressman is different from a public debate. He also said he’s heard from some voters who have had difficulty making an appointment with Marino’s office. 

Marino was first elected to Congress in 2010, beating a Democratic incumbent for the seat. He won reelection in 2016 with 70 percent of the vote. 

The 12th District includes Mifflin, Juniata, Perry, Union, Snyder, and Northumberland counties.