Democrats sweep important midterm elections in Pennsylvania

The recent midterm elections were avidly followed and dissected by many across the United States, especially in those in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was one of the key races in determining which side would have control over the senate for the remainder of the term. Following the high-voltage race for the vacant Senate seat between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican nominee Mehmet Oz, Fetterman narrowly edged out Oz to succeed Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican who opted against seeking re-election. This marked the end to one of the ugliest and most expensive campaigns of the year as both parties treated it as a possible turning point for control over the senate.

Unlike other senate races in the United States, there was only one formal debate between Fetterman and Oz before the election. Many issues plaguing the nation like abortion laws, fracking and inflation were raised during the debate. Another topic that was frequently brought up was that of Fetterman’s health following his stroke in May.

Due to audio processing issues caused by his stroke, Fetterman was allowed to have television monitors in the studio that displayed a live transcription of the debate. However, many felt like this prevented Fetterman from participating in the kind of rapid-fire comments and verbal combat that characterizes American political debates. His responses were typically brief, and at times Fetterman struggled to answer. Although Fetterman was able to land some rehearsed attacks on his opponent, his impairment hindered his engagement.   

Following his win over Oz, Fetterman promised to aid the Democrats in establishing foundational laws protecting people’s rights to abortion, healthcare, same-sex marriage, unions and voting. He also wants to raise the federal minimum wage.

Another important race in Pennsylvania was that between Democrat Josh Shapiro and far-right Republican Doug Mastriano for governor where we saw Shapiro defeat Mastriano with a margin of 14.6% to become governor.   

Lastly, Democrats netted 12 seats in the state House race, giving them a slim majority for the first time in 12 years. This trail of victories reversed previous election expectations and gave Democrats additional buffers to Republican attempts to enshrine the right to life in the state constitution.

However, due to an unprecedented number of voter turnout, there was an issue of paper shortages at some polling stations around Pennsylvania on Election Day.

One specific example is in Luzerne County where a judge had extended voting hours by two hours due to lack of supplies at polling stations. This later resulted in a deadlock on whether to report official vote tallies to the state, which effectively prevented their certification of the election results before the November 28 deadline.

Two Democratic members of the Luzerne County Board of Elections and Voter Registration voted to certify while both Republicans voted “no.” The fifth member, Democrat Daniel Schramm, abstained.

It was only after a tense public meeting on November 30 that the election results were finally signed off, ending the deadlock and marking the official end to the Pennsylvanian midterm elections.