On Tuesday November 6, Pennsylvanians went to the polls for the first statewide vote for Governor, US Senator, US Representatives, and other local elections since the 2016 election. This was to be a test on President Trump’s popularity in a state he won by 44,000 votes. Pennsylvania was deemed to be a crucial state in this election for both Democrats and Republicans. Republicans vied to win the governor’s seat from incumbent Governor Tom Wolf and win U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s seat to secure a path to Republican control in the Senate. Democrats hoped to keep these two positions and win seats in the House of Representatives after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the former district map due to gerrymandering. In all essence, Pennsylvania had many elections that were essential for both parties to win in order to maintain or gain control.
As a swing state, Pennsylvania plays an important role in determining which party controls the executive branch and legislative branch, in both state and national level. As results trickled in at around 8:20 pm, after polls closed, Tom Wolf, the Democrat running for reelection for Pennsylvania governor was quickly declared the winner over Republican candidate Scott Wagner with 57.6% of the vote, compared to Wagner’s 40.9%. Soon, US Senator Bob Casey was declared the winner of his election, with 55.6% of the state voting for him and 42.7% voting for his Republican opponent, Lou Barletta. For the rest of the night, results for the House of Representative elections began pouring in. Brendan F. Boyle and Dwight Evans, the two representatives covering Philadelphia, both won their elections with large margins. The most important elections were not declared though; Pennsylvania was the largest state with no women in Congress and eight women, seven democrats and one republican, were vying for a seat in the House. Over the night, four of those women won, making history. Pennsylvania had never had this many female representatives in the US House of Representatives. Not only that, two of those seats were flipped from Republican to Democrat.
After a very red 2016 election, Pennsylvania showed its blue in 2018. Four House of Representatives seats were flipped from Republican to Democrat and Pennsylvania will be sending nine Democrats and nine Republicans to the House on January 3, their first day in office. For the first time ever, four of those representatives will be women – Susan Wild, Mary Gay Scanlon, Madeleine Dean, and Chrissy Houlahan. Not only that, the largely popular Tom Wolf will be coming back for four more years, with a new Lieutenant Governor, Braddock mayor John Fetterman and Senator Bob Casey will be back in the Senate to fight for Pennsylvanians.
Much of this so called “blue wave” in the Keystone State would not have been possible if not for Philadelphia. In the Gubernatorial election, 469,371 people voted for Tom Wolf, strongly boosting him. 466,320 Philadelphians voted for Bob Casey, significantly helping his reelection bid for Senate. The Philadelphia area also helped elect the four women to Congress and was essential in helping to gain seats in the House of Representatives for Democratic control there.
Not much can be done without strong turnout in the Philadelphia area and the Pittsburgh area. These two Democratic strongholds give Pennsylvania its blue hue and continuously stand out from the rest of the state due to their extreme bias to Democratic candidates. This election, after the daunting 2016 election, was crucial in determining whether Pennsylvania was no longer the blue leaning swing state it had been for many years before and that the voters were more Republican. After November 6, it has become obvious that that is not true. Voters came out in masses, as compared to the last midterm election in 2014, and chose to elect Democrats to represent and lead Pennsylvania.
This election does truly show how essential it is to vote in every election, as every vote counts. Pennsylvania has always been crucial in every election and who we elect to represent us in Congress often determines the balance of Republicans and Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives. When Pennsylvanians vote, Pennsylvanians elect leaders who want what is best for the state and the nation and work hard to represent us in their positions. For now, Pennsylvania stays more blue than before, but it must rely on the next generation of voters, us, to maintain it that way.
Victor Kagan (279)