Midterm Election Results: Split Decision Nationally, Good Night for PA Democrats in State Races
Yesterday was a mixed bag of results nationally for both parties. The Democrats took control of the House Representatives, while the Republicans maintained control of the Senate. After a cursory look at the federal election results in Pennsylvania and nationwide, it looks like the blue wave did materialize like some had predicted. Nationally, the Democrats gained a little better than the historic average of 28 seats for the party out of power during a presidential mid-term election. The Democrats in Pennsylvania took advantage of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court-drawn congressional map and congressional retirements to flip seats in the Southeast. The breakdown of the PA Congressional Delegation prior to last night was 13-5 in favor of the Republicans; after last night, the PA Congressional Delegation breakdown will be 9-9 between Democrats and Republicans.
In the Senate, Incumbent Senator Bob Casey had an easy time dispatching his challenger Lou Barletta. Nationally, the Republicans held control of the Senate and added 3 to 4 seats to their majority. The Senate still has races that are “too close to call” in Montana and Arizona, and in Mississippi there will be a run-off election on November 27, because no one received more than 50% of the vote.
Turning back to Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf defeated his opponent Scott Wagner by a 17% point margin, ensuring him 4 more years in the Governor’s mansion. In the General Assembly, the Senate Democrats were able to pick up 4-5 seats (one seat is “too close to call”). The PA Democrat Senate picked up at least 3 seats in the Southeast and one in the Southwest. The race in Bucks County between Incumbent State Senator Tommy Tomlinson and Democrat Challenger Tina Davis is “too close to call” with Senator Tomlinson leading by 500 or less. Incumbent State Senate Republicans Tom McGarricle (R – Delaware County) and John Rafferty (R – Montgomery) lost to their Democrat challengers. In the Southwest (Allegheny County – District 38), Democrat Lindsey Williams defeated Republican Jeremy Shaffer, who won the primary against the Incumbent Republican Senator Randy Vulakovich by a margin of 50.22% to 49.78%. When the PA Senate returns in January, the Republicans will maintain control of the Senate by a margin of 29 – 21 or 30 – 20 (depending on the outcome of the Tomlinson v. Davis race in Bucks County).
New members of the PA Senate are as follows:
- Steve Santarsiero (D – Bucks). He defeated former State House Republican Marquerite Quinn
- Maria Collet (D – Bucks/Montgomery). She defeated retiring State Senator Stewart Greenleaf’s son
- Tim Kearney (D – Delaware). He defeated Incumbent State Senator Tom McGarrigle
- Kristin Phillips-Hill (R – York). She won Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Scott Wagner’s open seat
- Judy Ward (R – Blair/Fulton). She won the seat vacated by Republican State Senator John Eichelberger
- Lindsey Williams (D – Allegheny). She defeated Republican Jeremy Shaffer, who won the primary against the Incumbent Republican Senator Randy Vulakovich
- Katie Muth (D – Berks/Chester/Montgomery). She defeated incumbent State Senator John Rafferty
The Democrats also had a good night in state House races. The Democrats picked up 10 seats in the PA House. Again as in the PA Senate, House Democrats picked up most of their seats in the collar counties of Philadelphia. The Republicans had 121 of the House’s 203 seats to defend. Out of those 121 seats, 20 seats were open because of Incumbent Republican retirements. Democrats won 5 of the open seats, which were held by Republicans, and they unseated 8 Republican incumbents; however, the Democrats also lost 3 of their own seats to Republicans for a net gain of 10. The Republicans will still maintain control of the PA House of Representatives by a margin of 111 – 92.
New members of the House are as follows:
- 2nd District – Democrat Robert Merski (OPEN)
- 15th – Republican Joshua Kail (OPEN)
- 21st – Democrat Sara Innamorato
- 29th – Republican Meghan Schroeder (OPEN)
- 30th – Republican Lori Mizgorski (OPEN)
- 34th – Democrat Summer Lee
- 39th – Republican Michael Puskaric (OPEN)
- 40th – Republican Natalie Mihalek (OPEN)
- 44th – Republican Valerie Gaydos (OPEN)
- 53rd – Democrat Steven Malagari (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
- 54th – Republican Robert Brooks (OPEN)
- 61st – Democrat Laura Hanbidge (PICK-UP)
- 62nd – Republican James Struzzi (OPEN)
- 68th – Republican Clinton Owlett (OPEN)
- 71st – Republican James Rigby (PICK-UP)
- 74th – Democrat Dan Williams (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
- 76th – Republican Stephanie Borowicz (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
- 79th – Republican Louis Schmitt (OPEN)
- 80th – Republican James Gregory (OPEN)
- 82nd – Republican Johnathan Hershey (OPEN)
- 93rd – Republican Paul Jones (OPEN)
- 105th – Republican Andrew Lewis (OPEN)
- 112th – Democrat Kyle Mullins (OPEN)
- 143rd – Democrat Wendy Ullman (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
- 144th – Republican Todd Polinchock (OPEN)
- 146th – Democrat Joseph Ciresi (PICK-UP)
- 150th – Democrat Joseph Webster (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
- 153rd – Democrat Ben Sanchez (OPEN)
- 155th – Democrat Danielle Otten (PICK-UP)
- 157th – Democrat Melissa Shusterman (PICK-UP)
- 158th – Democrat Christina Sappey (PICK-UP)
- 162nd – Democrat David Delloso (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
- 163rd – Democrat Michael Zabel (PICK-UP)
- 165th – Democrat Jennifer Omara (PICK-UP)
- 167th – Democrat Kristine Howard (PICK-UP)
- 175th – Democrat Mary Isaacson (OPEN)
- 177th – Democrat Joseph Hohenstein (OPEN)(PICK-UP)
- 178th – Republican Wendi Thomas (PICK-UP)
- 181st – Democrat Malcolm Kenyatta (OPEN)
- 184th – Democrat Elizabeth Fiedler (OPEN)
- 193rd – Republican Torren Ecker (OPEN)
- 197th – Democrat Danilo Burgos (OPEN)
- 199th – Republican Barbara Gleim (OPEN)
On the national level, it will be interesting to see whether the Democrat Speaker of the House (presumably, Nancy Pelosi) will be able to manage the various factions of the Democrat caucus. As you may recall, Speaker Paul Ryan had the same issues with the Republican caucus. Look for the President, Senate, and House to work together on issues of infrastructure and other smaller initiatives. The big issues of health care, immigration, the deficit, the passage of a budget, and tax cuts will probably not be resolved and be left as issues for the 2020 election.
At the state level, the Governor can pursue large initiatives such as raising the minimum wage, tax increases, pension reform, and other such issues because he will not be on the ballot in four years; however, both chambers of the General Assembly are still controlled by Republicans by comfortable margins, so the Governor’s initiatives will be tempered by a more conservative General Assembly.
RCPA looks forward to our continued working relationship with the Governor, returning members of the General Assembly, and we look forward to meeting and working with the newly elected members.
For all election results from the Pennsylvania Department of State, please check here.
Questions, contact RCPA Director of Government Affairs Jack Phillips.