Campaigns & Elections
5 storylines to follow in the wake of Pennsylvania’s midterm elections
A recap of some of the major themes coming out of Election Day.
Control of Congress. The election of a new governor. The first elections on new state legislative maps in Pennsylvania. Those were just a few of the main storylines leading into the state’s consequential midterm elections this week.Pennsylvania’s midterm elections were some of the most closely watched in the nation, and there’s plenty to unpack about the impact the results could have over the weeks to come. City & State has rounded up some of the top political developments to follow in the coming weeks and months.
Democrats in statewide races have a big night
The major theme coming out of election night was the success at the top of the ticket for Democrats. Attorney General Josh Shapiro was declared the victor in the state’s race for the governor’s mansion, while Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeated Dr. Mehmet Oz in a race to determine who will replace U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey in Washington. Fetterman’s win is a major pickup for Democrats as they aim to retain control of the Senate. Shapiro’s win, meanwhile, keeps the governor’s office blue – and could create a new dynamic in Harrisburg if Democrats make enough gains in the state House.
Pennsylvanians will get a new attorney general
With Shapiro set to take over as the state’s chief executive early next year, Pennsylvanians will also get a new attorney general in office, as Shapiro will be forced to relinquish his post before being sworn-in as governor. State law gives the governor the power to nominate – and with the state Senate’s approval, appoint – a replacement for the remainder of the term. While the role is vacant, the first deputy attorney general will oversee the duties of the office, per the Commonwealth Attorneys Act. A vacancy in the office will also set off speculation about the 2024 AG race, so this will be an area to watch.
Summer Lee makes history
Progressive state Rep. Summer Lee made Pennsylvania history Tuesday night, defeating Republican Mike Doyle to become the state’s first Black congresswoman. Lee will represent the state’s 12th Congressional District, which had no incumbent due to new congressional maps. “Our communities have been waiting far, far too long for this,” Lee said of her groundbreaking win, according to WESA. Lee’s victory will bring a vacancy to her state House district seat, setting the stage for a special election to replace her.
Incumbent members of Congress stay put
Tuesday’s elections brought disappointment to many challengers amongst both political parties in races across the nation. In Georgia, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams lost to incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp. In other parts of the country, Republicans didn’t quite get the results they were hoping for, but they’re still expected to regain control of the House. In Pennsylvania, however, election night was all smiles – with perhaps a touch of anxiety – for the state’s incumbent members of Congress. All 14 incumbents running for reelection ended the cycle with a win – though some races, like U.S. Rep. Susan Wild’s rematch with Republican Lisa Scheller, remained quite close as results came in. Ultimately, it was a good night to be an incumbent in Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation.
Democrats eye control of the state House
With so much attention placed on the races at the top of the ticket, it’s easy to forget that three-quarters of state legislative seats were also on the ballot. And if the unofficial results are any indication, the state looks like it could be in for more divided government in Harrisburg. Republicans in the state Senate appear to have retained their majority – but as results continue to come in, Democrats are claiming a majority in the state House, a potential flip of the chamber that would drastically shift the power dynamics in the halls of the state Capitol.