BOB KEATON’S 2016 GENERAL ELECTION WRAP-UP AND ANALYSIS

A rainy dawn greeted Pennsylvania’s Capitol City as party leaders, political pundits and the public try to make sense of the national and state election results. By any measure, Pennsylvania’s electoral results are a mixed bag.  Donald Trump defied the experts and polls by narrowly carrying the state, the first time a GOP presidential candidate has done so since 1988.  Incumbent US Senator Pat Toomey retained his seat in a nail biter against Democrat Katie McGinty.  The state Senate GOP expanded their numbers by three to achieve a veto-proof majority.  The House GOP garnered a net-three gain to their majority.  But all three Democratic statewide row office candidates won by comfortable margins.

Perhaps the only real surprise is that President-elect Trump’s support in the Commonwealth was substantially underreported in the pre-election polls. The fact of the matter is that the General Assembly and row office outcomes are as expected and predicted for months.  In addition, US Senator Toomey’s fortunes have been tied to Donald Trump’s performance since the GOP nominating convention in July.  The missed race seems to be the presidential contest.  Few, if any, experts predicted Donald Trump’s victory in the Keystone State.  As the dawn turns to day, the winners and losers will be more fully understood.

Biggest Winner/Loser

Perhaps the biggest winner in Pennsylvania is State Senator Scott Wagner.   The freshman, far-right firebrand senator from York County chaired the Senate Republican Campaign Committee and delivered for his caucus and party.  The coveted veto-proof majority has been long sought by the GOP.  Through effective candidate recruitment and substantial fundraising, Senator Wagner led the way for this Senate Republican super-majority.  Senator Wagner has also been contemplating a gubernatorial run in 2018.  Pennsylvania’s apparent appetite for a Trump-style campaign bodes well for Wagner if he takes on “Establishment” Republican candidates and incumbent Governor Tom Wolf in the next cycle.

Clearly the biggest loser in the Commonwealth is Governor Tom Wolf. His former chief of staff, Katie McGinty, fell short in her bid for US Senate.  The Republican majorities in the General Assembly expanded.  His approval ratings are tanking.  There are open conversations on Capitol Hill as to whether he will even seek re-election.  With few avenues to advance his agenda in the Capitol Building, Governor Wolf will need to take his proposals “to the people” with sustained, campaign-style grassroots efforts or quietly serve out the remainder of his term.

The Numbers

President of the United States 

With nearly all precincts reporting, Donald Trump won Pennsylvania 48.7% to 47.7%. The vote totals are 2,887,198 for Trump and 2,813,243 for Hillary Clinton.  

In 2012, President Obama won 52% of the statewide vote, down from 54% in 2008. Democrats John Kerry and Al Gore also carried the state in the 2000 and 2004 election. 

United States Senate 

With 98% of the precincts reporting, Pat Toomey was re-elected as US Senator defeating Democrat Katie McGinty by more than 86,000 votes and a 49% to 47% margin.

Toomey won by a margin of 2 percentage points in his 2010 race against former Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak. 

Pennsylvania Congressional Seats 

US Congress delegation political split will remain the same.   The only changes are the election of State Representative Dwight Evans to the seat held by Congressman Chaka Fattah and the election of State Senator Lloyd Smucker to the open seat held by Congressman Joe Pitts.

US House of Representatives remains at R 13 – D 5

Pennsylvania House of Representatives 

The House Republicans will begin the new session with their largest majority in 60 years. The GOP increased its majority by three seats giving the Republicans a 122 – 81 advantage over Democrats. House Republicans picked up four seats in Western Pennsylvania with the Trump regional landslide. The House Democrats picked up a Republican seat in Northeastern Pennsylvania due to local school property tax issues.

House Total increases to R 122 – D 81

State House Democratic seats Republicans won:

HD 58 – Harhai (Westmoreland County)

HD 10 – Gibbons (Lawrence County)

HD 51 – Mahoney (Fayette County)

HD 49 – Daley (Fayette County) 

State House Republican seat Democrats won:

HD 115 – Parker (Monroe County)

Pennsylvania State Senate

In the state Senate, the defeat of Democratic incumbents Rob Teplitz and Sean Wiley, along with the flipping of retiring Democratic Senator John Wozniak’s seat, brings the Republicans’ advantage to 34 – 16.

With 34 senators, the Senate GOP may override any Governor Wolf veto.

State Senate returns as R 34 – D16

Three seats switched

SD 15 – Teplitz (Harrisburg)

SD 49 – Wiley (Erie)

SD 35- Wozniak (Johnstown)

Statewide Row Offices 

Pennsylvania Attorney General – Josh Shapiro wins

Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro received 2,828,531 votes (51%) to Republican State Senator John Rafferty’s 2,678,841 tally (49%).

Pennsylvania State Treasurer – Joe Torsella

Former US Ambassador Joe Torsella received 2,741,038 votes (51%) while Republican nominee Otto Voit garnered 2,390,162 vote (44%).

Pennsylvania Auditor General – Eugene DePasquale

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale easily won a second term by defeating Republican nominee John Brown. With 88% of precincts reporting, DePasquale received 2,370,341 Votes (51%) while Brown tallied 2,066,472 (44%).

 

 

 

Skip to toolbar