Pennsylvania Election Information
State-wide elections, such as for governor and U.S. Senate, are estimates of the party preference of the electorate. In the 2018 elections, Governor Wolf (D) received 58% of the vote. In the 2018 U.S. Senate race, Democrat Bob Casey won with 55.7% of the vote. Back in 2016, the margin of victory for Republican Senator Pat Toomey was a mere 1.5%. Although Trump won Pennsylvania with 48.2% of the vote, Hillary Clinton received 47.5%, losing by only 0.7% (44,292 votes). Based on state-wide elections, Democrats should hold around half or more of the seats in both the State House and State Senate if the elected representatives reflected party preferences. Despite losing seats in 2018, Republicans, however, still control the State Senate with 58% of the chamber and the State House with 54%. Because of gerrymandering in Pennsylvania, the will of voters has been thwarted.
It’s time to turn the state legislature blue, so it represents the Pennsylvanians!
PA State House
After the 2016 election, Republicans controlled the State House with 121 of the 203 seats, with Democrats controlling 82 seats. Democrats made inroads in the 2018 election, with a net gain of 11 seats. Currently, they hold 93 of 203 seats in the House; thus, nine seats would have to be flipped for control of this chamber. The seats considered most flippable are in the suburban Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions.
PA State Senate
Despite losing five seats in 2018, Republicans still hold the majority in the 50-seat chamber (58% R), though they lost their supermajority. Currently, Republicans hold 28 seats, while Democrats hold 21 seats. One Independent caucuses with the Republicans. In 2020, Democrats would need to flip four seats, which would effectively turn the chamber Democratic, as the Democratic Lieutenant Governor would cast the deciding vote in case of ties. However, only half of the Senate seats will be on the ballot in 2020, with some of the more vulnerable Senators not up for re-election until 2022.
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Image from F McGady / CC BY-SA
PA: Legislation Report 2020
This in-depth analysis of recent legislation reveals a lack of connection between GOP politicians and issues of deep concern to their constituents in districts across the state. The GOP has become the “anti” party (anti-environment, anti-workers’ rights, anti-public education, anti-affordable health care, anti-reproductive rights, anti-immigration, and more).
PA: SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER
The Outsize Influence of Right-wing Conservative Dark Money and ALEC:
The trend towards privatization comes from the outsized power that one constituency—business—has in influencing legislation. A national organization, called the American Legislative Exchange Council (commonly referred to as ALEC), has had a huge impact on new state laws. ALEC writes “model” legislation, which is then given to state lawmakers who sponsor it. ALEC-drafted legislation seeks to increase business profits, weaken environmental protections, privatize public entities such as schools and prisons, and infrastructure, and promotes conservative social causes at the expense of the general public.
GOING TO WORK SICK IN PENNSYLVANIA
In 2019, Democrats introduced three bills in Pennsylvania’s legislature proposing statewide paid sick leave: SB 13, HB 169 and HB 998. The Republican-led Labor and Industry Committees put all on hold indefinitely. HB 169 aptly described the benefits of a “healthier and more productive workforce.” HB 998 was introduced as part of a “People Above Profits” legislative packet. This catchy phrase ignores research showing that companies offering these benefits are more profitable and create a healthier workplace.
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