In 2016, Pennsylvania went red for President Donald Trump, proving a key swing state in his path to the presidency. But two years later, Democratic office-holders handily won their reelection campaigns.
Here are the main takeaways as of press-time from the Pennsylvania 2018 mid-term elections:
–Gov. Tom Wolf won his re-election campaign over state senator Scott Wagner. Wagner’s Trump-style, tough-talk campaign, which included xenophobic attacks on Wolf’s immigration policies, failed to land with a majority of voters.
All things considered, despite an at-times rocky first term marked by budget stalemates conflicts with Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled state legislature, York native and former businessman Wolf’s cool, collected approach to governing helped him cruise quite easily to a second term — unlike his predecessor, Republican one-term Tom Corbett.
–One major change was Wolf’s decision to ditch his first term Lt. Gov., Mike Stack, a former Philly City Councilman.
As part of his reelection campaign, Wolf brought on John Fetterman – the bald, tatted, progressive 6’8″tall former mayor of Braddock, Pa., who ran unsuccessfully in 2016 for the Dem nomination to Senate (he lost to Kate McGinty, who in turn failed to unseat Pa.’s incumbent GOP U.S. Senator Pat Toomey).
Fetterman’s got the date of every homicide by gun in Braddock tatted on his right arm, was an early Bernie Sanders enthusiast, and has openly embraced anti-capitalist rhetoric and politics in managing an impoverished, rust-belt town. It remains to be seen how he will be bring his ideas to the canvas of the commonwealth.
–Pa.’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey won his reelection campaign over GOP candidate Lou Barletta, despite endorsements for Barletta from Trump and campaign fundraisers around the state hosted by VP Mike Pence and Donald Trump Jr. Barletta, a Pa. state rep. since 2011 and the former mayor of Hazleton, Pa.
–Democrat U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans faced no real competition in his heavily Democratic district of Philadelphia as he was elected to represent the newly re-drawn 3rd Congressional District of Pennsylvania. He was first elevated from the Pennsylvania State House to take over disgraced former U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah’s seat in the 2nd District in 2016, but had to run for a new district after the Pa. Supreme Court redrew the state’s Congressional Districts to resolve a lawsuit over gerrymandering.