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State Roundup — About Those Elections

According to an AP survey, six in 10 Pennsylvania voters said the economy was the most important issue of the election.

By PA Independent Staff

HARRISBURG — Democrats swept all five statewide races, but Republicans were able to claim victory in congressional and state legislative races as the election dominated news in Pennsylvania this week.

President Barack Obama and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey were each given a second term by Pennsylvania voters, who also supported Democratic candidates for attorney general, auditor general and treasurer.

Democrats won three state Senate seats, but Republicans still hold the majority in that chamber.  The GOP successfully defended their wide margin in the state House as well.

Kane first woman elected attorney general as Dems sweep PA row offices

Kathleen Kane, a former assistant district attorney from Lackawanna County, will be Pennsylvania’s next attorney general.

The party is championing the victory, alongside its other wins Tuesday night. Kane is the first woman – and first Democrat – elected to the position.

Kane won the race over GOP opponent David Freed.

“She is going to do remarkable things,” said Jim Burn, chairman of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party to PA Independent. “She will follow the evidence wherever it takes her. Anyone who needs to be held accountable will be held accountable.”

Rob McCord won a second term as Pennsylvania’s treasurer by defeating Republican challenger Diana Irey Vaughn.

Democrats held the post of auditor general as state Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-York, collected 50 percent of the vote.  His Republican opponent, state Rep. John Maher, R-Allegheny, received 46 percent.

Casey celebrates second term, promises to get nation’s fiscal house in order

As U.S. Sen. Bob Casey heads back to Washington, D.C., to serve a second term in the Congress, the state’s senior senator said he’ll be thinking of struggling families in northeast Pennsylvania region, which has the highest unemployment rate in the state.

“We’ve got to make sure that as we begin a new Congress, as we begin to the deal with issues of the economy, of job creation, getting our fiscal house in order, whatever it is, we’ve got to remember those families,” Casey said.

According to an AP survey, six in 10 Pennsylvania voters said the economy was the most important issue of the election.

Casey won the race with 53.7 percent of the vote, and 44.6 percent going to Tom Smith, his Republican opponent.

In a statement, Smith said that while he and Casey disagreed on many things, they agreed on one thing – they both believe America’s best days lie ahead.

“My family and I are humbled and grateful for the support of millions of Pennsylvanians,” Smit said. “And though we fell short tonight, we will continue to advocate for the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and individual liberty.”

After statewide defeats, GOP looks forward

Republican leaders in Pennsylvania faced a tough night of electoral losses with a brave face and promised that their party would “dust itself off and come back fighting” for the next cycle two years from now.

On a night when Democrats won all five statewide elections and picked up three formerly Republican seats in the state Senate, Gov. Tom Corbett and Rob Gleason, chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania, pointed to the fact that the GOP still controls the governor’s mansion and both chambers of the state General Assembly.

“We made a great effort and it was much closer than four years ago, but close is only good in horseshoes,” Gleason said of the presidential race.

If there is a silver lining for the GOP, it is the fact that they added another congressman. Keith Rothfus knocked off U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Pa., in the 12th district to give Republicans 13 of the Keystone State’s 18 congressional seats.

“Thank you for all the hard work you did,” Corbett told supporters at the Hilton Harrisburg hotel. “Starting tomorrow, on to the next cycle.”

Questionable Election Day activities in Philadelphia

Multiple media reports out of Pennsylvania’s largest city on Tuesday raised questions about the legitimacy of the election in Philadelphia, a part of the state that is crucial to President Barack Obama’s re-election.

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania said dozens of credential poll watchers were thrown out of polling places in the City of Brotherly Love on Tuesday morning.

Gleason , said as many as 75 Republican election workers were prohibited from accessing polling places.

The party sought – and received – a court order from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas to seat those inspectors in Philadelphia polling places.

The Committee of Seventy, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that works for free and fair elections, said it was monitoring reports of Republican election watchers being kept out of polling places.

Elsewhere in the city, media reported that one polling place was set up in the same room as a floor-to-ceiling mural depicting Obama and the words “hope” and “change.”

A second court order required election workers at the polling place – a school in the city’s35th ward – to cover the mural with “blank paper or other similar material so that the content of the mural is invisible in its entirety for the duration of the election.”

GOP keeps majority in state House, Senate

Both Democrats and Republicans can claim victory in the results of Tuesday’s General Assembly election.

Democrats won their biggest share of the state Senate in nearly 20 years while Republicans kept their majority in that chamber and successfully defended about a dozen state House seats to keep a wide majority in the lower chamber.

With two House races still too close to call on Wednesday, the Republicans held a 27-23 majority in the state Senate and a 109-92 edge in the state House.

Senate Majority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, said his caucus would use their increased power in state government to push for more investments in education, in the social safety net and for transportation infrastructure funding.

“Today, we stand in a better place than we were in terms of our ability to articulate our message and the message of the people of Pennsylvania,” Costa said.

House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, said the results meant the GOP control of state government could move forward with their agenda.

“The governor is a Republican, the Senate is still Republican, and we think there is a lot of consensus on moving positive issues forward,” Turzai said.

Post-election, voting issues continue to pop up

The elections are over, but the discussion about voting integrity continues.

House Speaker Sam Smith, R-Jefferson, told reporters Wednesday afternoon that he’s heard stories about 90 percent of precincts reporting 90 percent voter turnout.

Smith called the numbers “questionable,” but would not call them evidence of fraud.

Attempts to verify Smith’s claims were unsuccessful, but the comment alone was enough to anger state Sen. Vince Hughes, D-Philadelphia.

Hughes said he was at a number of polling places on Tuesday and so no fraud. He charged that Republican talk of fraud is an attempt to marginalize Philadelphia residents.

“If they believe there was a corruption of the process, let them go to court and challenge it,” Hughes said. “If they can’t, shut up.”

State officials say they’ve received 495 complaints since creation in October of an online reporting system. Nearly 400 of those complaints came on Election Day.

Turnout statewide was around 5.5 million.

Problems cited included absentee ballots (76 reports), voter registration (69 reports), poll worker violations, voter intimidation (58 reports) and tampering with voting machines (11 reports).

Maria November 12, 2012 at 02:54 AM
If the economy was truly the pressing issue then Romney would have won in a landslide. Obama is a failure on all fronts, especially economics. I fear half my country is truly brain dead.
Jordan November 12, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Maria -- I would recommend you take Capitalism 101. You understand that trickle-down does not work, right? There's a reason the economy does significantly better when Democrats are in the White House...
jjjiiimmm November 12, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Maria you are quite correct republicans are brain dead. Thank god his will was done and obama won
Read Rothbard November 12, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Maria is right. Half the country is brain dead. Benghazi didn't matter, crippling debt didn't matter, gruesome unemployment didn't matter, off-mic promises to adverse heads of state didn't matter, high food, and gas prices didn't matter, record food stamp rolls didn't matter, loss of freedoms didn't matter, multiple broken promises didn't matter. What did matter was free birth-control, mediocre overpriced healthcare paid for by our kids,forcibly taking from some to give pittance to others, getting even with the successful, revenge mattered. We have now tipped from a country founded on personal freedom based in a capitalistic economic system to a collective society on the road to redistribution and socialism. Congratulations, now explain to your kids why they are each fifty thousand dollars in debt and how it is better to settle than excel. But at the end of the day Social Welfare won over Corporate Welfare. Either way Liberty loses.
jjjiiimmm November 12, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Fortunately for the country your paranoid rants are just the death rattle of a dying hateful uninformed group that will quickly be replaced by libertarians don't worry you will still have the klan and arien nation to embrace you..
Nick November 12, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Hey Read, you might want to read up on what capitalism and socialism are. Capitalism clearly requires a progressive tax structure - the higher earners pay a higher rate. It is one of the core pillars of sustaning a capitalist marketplace. You imply in your post that all of these economic issues facing us today can be pinned on Obama. That is both absurd and childish. Most fo what faces us today stems from 30 years of bad economic policy, mostly at the hands of trickle down deregulators. Join us in the real world whenever you are ready.
Jim Aspen November 12, 2012 at 11:56 PM
College grads that cant find work and voted for Obama. You deserve it.
Keith Best November 13, 2012 at 01:34 PM
The uncertainty of the election was holding back employers. They were poised to start hiring with the election of Romney/ Ryan. Now that Obamabots have ended that hope, employers will be laying back because of Obamacare and higher taxes on small business owners. Many are laying off people.You Obamabots have no idea what you have done. Who is John Galt?
Greg Czar November 13, 2012 at 08:07 PM
REALLY!!!!!!!!!! Sticks and stones can break my bones but the voters have spoken. Stop whinnnnnning
CyD252 November 13, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Utter nonsense. Business profits have been picking up steadily, as evidenced by the growth in stock market values. If companies want to hire, they'll hire. It galls me that companies, such as Papa John's, complain that they have to fire or reduce hours for thousands of workers... Meanwhile, the same company holds an NFL promotion including a two MILLION pizza giveaway. I feel for the employees - not the employers who are using their disappointment with the election results as an convenient excuse to harm others.
Jennifer Neely November 14, 2012 at 01:20 AM
@ Greg Czar, I LOVE YOUR COMMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tony Simek November 14, 2012 at 01:06 PM
I agree with you Jim. People are getting what they deserve. Unemloyment in Pennsylvania is creeping up according to papers in Central and Western PA. The stock market is reflective of the poor choice in the White House. Eventually we'll get some leaders who will turn things around. For now it will be the Republicans that will have to bail out Democrats which I wish they wouldn't do.
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