Campaigns & Elections

Five for Friday: A way-too-early general election preview, part one

From the state’s top auditor to the U.S. presidency, we take a look at five statewide races worth watching this fall.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is seeking reelection in 2024.

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey is seeking reelection in 2024. Commonwealth Media Services

A lot can change between now and November, but the April 23 primary election gave us an early look at what to expect in this year’s presidential election cycle in Pennsylvania.

General election matchups are now set in races across the commonwealth. In addition to deciding the U.S. presidency this fall, voters will have an opportunity to elect an attorney general, treasurer, auditor general and other offices on Tuesday, Nov. 5. Below, City & State takes a way-too-early look at five statewide general election races worth watching in November.  

President of the United States

President Joe Biden (D) vs. Donald Trump (R)

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have all but secured the nominations from the country’s two major political parties, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any takeaways from how the current and former presidents performed in Pennsylvania’s primary election. Biden was facing a write-in protest vote push, while Trump lost 157,715 votes to Nikki Haley, the erstwhile Republican contender who dropped out of the GOP presidential primary on March 6. 

It will be worth watching whether voter dissatisfaction toward Trump and Biden will carry over to the general – an election that will feature another wild card: Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential campaign, which both parties worry could cause a spoiler effect. A Fox News poll from mid-April showed Biden and Trump deadlocked at 48%, and when factoring in Kennedy and other third party candidates, Trump took the lead in the commonwealth by 2 points, according to the survey.

U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D) vs. Dave McCormick (R)

Much like the presidential matchup, the long-anticipated U.S. Senate nominees are squaring off in November. Bob Casey – the son of a former two-term governor and Pennsylvania’s longest-ever serving Democrat in the Senate – is seeking his fourth term, going up against the Republican nominee Dave McCormick. 

McCormick – a former hedge fund executive who was defeated by Mehmet Oz in the 2022 Senate Republican primary – ran unopposed on the GOP ticket, the same as Casey on the Democratic side. McCormick spent $14 million of his own dollars on his 2022 bid, and as the 2024 race in Pennsylvania is once again expected to decide control of the Senate, it’s anticipated that this campaign will be an expensive one.

Casey’s U.S. Senate seat is one of just three Senate seats that the Cook Political Report rated “Lean Democrat” – with the other two seats in Michigan and Wisconsin. A March poll from Franklin & Marshall College found Casey leading McCormick 46% to 39%. 

Pennsylvania Attorney General

Dave Sunday (R) vs. Eugene DePasquale (D)

Voters from both parties selected their nominee for Pennsylvania attorney general this week – a new attorney general guaranteed after this year’s contest, as incumbent AG Michelle Henry is not running for reelection.

Republicans overwhelmingly elected York County District Attorney Dave Sunday, who defeated GOP state Rep. Craig Williams 70% to 30%. In the Democratic primary, former Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene Depasquale won a five-way Democratic primary with 35% of the vote. Democrats will look to hold the office in November’s general election, while Republicans will look to win the attorney general’s office for the first time since 2008, when then-Attorney General Tom Corbett was reelected to a second term.

In Pennsylvania’s last general election for attorney general, then-Attorney General Josh Shapiro defeated Republican challenger Heather Heidelbaugh 51% to 46%, according to state election returns. 

Pennsylvania TreasurerTreasurer

Stacy Garrity (R) vs. Erin McClelland (D)

Incumbent Pennsylvania Treasurer Stacy Garrity is looking to win a second term in this year’s general election for treasurer, while Democrat Erin McClelland will seek to win a statewide general election for the first time after besting state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro in the Democratic primary.

Throughout her tenure as treasurer, Garrity has made the return of unclaimed property a chief priority, pushing for new legislation that would allow the automated return of unclaimed property to Pennsylvanians. She has also cut fees for PA 529 Investment Plan accounts and PA ABLE account owners. McClelland, meanwhile, has campaigned on creating a statewide cybersecurity collaborative and called for greater oversight of state contracts. 

Garrity beat incumbent Democratic Treasurer Joe Torsella in 2020 by a little over 52,000 votes. 

Pennsylvania Auditor General

Auditor General Tim DeFoor (R) vs. Malcolm Kenyatta (D)

Pennsylvanians will vote for another kind of AG in November: the state auditor general. The position, commonly referred to as the state’s chief fiscal watchdog, is tasked with performing financial and performance audits of state finances. 

Incumbent Auditor General Tim DeFoor, a Republican who formerly served as Dauphin County Controller and worked as a special agent investigating fraud at the Attorney General’s office, will face Democratic state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta in the general election after Kenyatta defeated Lehigh County Controller Mark Pinsley in the primary. 

In 2020, DeFoor defeated Democratic candidate Nina Ahmad by a margin of 49% to 46% to become auditor general, as well as the first person of color to win statewide office in Pennsylvania.