Schwartz takes open seat in Pa.
Pennsylvania 13th Congressional District
(CNN) -- Democrat Allyson Schwartz, a 14-year veteran of the Pennsylvania Legislature, has defeated Republican Melissa Brown to win the open U.S. House seat in Pennsylvania's District 13.
The seat had belonged to Democrat Joe Hoeffel, who resigned to pursue a Senate seat, challenging four-term incumbent Republican Arlen Spector.
Pennsylvania's 13th, nearly equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, was thought to be very much up for grabs. The district includes parts of Philadelphia and outlying Montgomery County and has a diverse mix of races, incomes, professions and political points of view. But it leans primarily Democratic, which favored Schwartz.
During the campaign, Schwartz, 56, was critical of the Bush Administration, calling the state of health care a national crisis and saying the president lacked a plan to deal with the problem. She proposed creating a federal program based on a state child health care bill that she helped to pass, which would be funded by a cigarette tax and would help insure working families who don't qualify for Medicare and cannot afford health insurance.
Brown, 53, was the Republican candidate for the seat in 2002, when she lost to Hoeffel while getting 47 percent of the vote. Brown, who has worked as a nurse and an ophthalmologist, also made health care a priority, linking improved health care to a strong economy and lowering the deficit. She said that she also wanted to change malpractice regulations and work on tort reform. Brown also promised to improve Medicare benefits if elected.
Brown ran the majority of attack ads, calling Schwartz "too liberal for voters" in the district.
A poll taken in mid-September by the Franklin and Marshall College Center for Opinion Research gave Schwartz an 11-point lead at 45 percent to 34 percent for Brown.