Seeing Red - PA Republicans Gain Ground
By: Brent Sailhamer, ABC Keystone Director of Government Affairs

Despite overwhelming prognostication showing a Democratic victory, Donald Trump secured enough electoral votes late in the night on Tuesday to become the 45th President of the United States. However improbable, the historic victory sent tremendous shockwaves throughout the country and was reminiscent of the so-called “Republican Revolution” of 1994, led by former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Trump’s victory gives Republicans control of the White House, Congress, and the U.S. Senate for the first time since 2005. His path to success was marked by strong margins in a number of battleground states, including Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Iowa. Trump also won Pennsylvania by nearly 100,000 votes, delivering the Commonwealth’s 20 electoral votes to Republicans for the first time since 1984.

Downballot Republicans who spent much of the campaign season distancing themselves from Trump’s bombastic style also felt a lift from the change-oriented tidal wave, affirming Republican control of the House of Representatives and U.S. Senate. While predictions showed Democratic gains in the Senate, targeted members like Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) all held on to an election night victory. In perhaps the most watched and certainly the most expensive Senate race to date, Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey defied the odds and defeated Katie McGinty by a 49% to 47% margin.

PA Republicans Gain Ground

At the state level, Republicans also had a big night, widening margins against their Democrat colleagues in the House and Senate. Despite a Democratic sweep of row offices, including victories by Josh Shapiro for Attorney General, incumbent Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, and Joe Torsella for Treasurer, Republicans gained a critical foothold in the legislative process for when they return in 2017.  Headed into Tuesday, Republicans controlled 31 seats of the 50-member Senate – three seats shy of 2/3 control, the number needed for a veto override. On Tuesday, they got what they wanted, picking up three more seats and securing enough power to override a veto by Governor Tom Wolf. Republican Dan Laughlin defeated incumbent Sean Wiley in Erie County, while newcomer Wayne Langerholc defeated Democrat Ed Cernic to represent the Johnstown area in a seat vacated by longtime Democrat John Wozniak. In one of the most closely watched races in the state, business owner John DiSanto defeated midstate Democrat Rob Teplitz to represent Perry and Dauphin Counties.

In the House, Republican control also improved, moving from 119 seats out of 203 to 122. Republicans held on in a number of traditionally more moderate districts surrounding Philadelphia, securing returns for Rep. Tom Quigley (R-Montgomery), Rep. Warren Kampf (R-Chester), and Rep. Dan Truitt (R-Chester). 

ABC PA Endorsements Secure Victories

Earlier this year, members of the five ABC chapters throughout Pennsylvania met and ratified the endorsement of candidates for statewide row office and legislative offices. Ultimately, those endorsements proved to be highly successful, demonstrating a high number of merit shop champions in the legislature next year. The full list of endorsed candidates throughout the Keystone region and their results is below:

NAME

OFFICE

OUTCOME

Sen. John Rafferty (R-Montgomery)

Attorney General

Lost

Hon. Eugene DePasquale

Auditor General

Won

Otto Voit

Treasurer

Lost

U.S. Senator Pat Toomey

U.S. Senator

Won

Rep. Scott Perry (R-4)

U.S. Congressman

Won

Rep. Tom Marino (R-10)

U.S. Congressman

Won

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-11)

U.S. Congressman

Won

Rep. Charlie Dent (R-15)

U.S. Congressman

Won

Sen. Lloyd Smucker (R-Lancaster)

U.S. Congressman

Won

Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams)

91st House District

Won

Rep. Will Tallman (R-Adams)

193rd House District

Won

Rep. Mike Regan (R-York)

31st State Senate District

Won