Ten Races To Watch On Election Night and Voter Information

Kristi Pronovost Merit Shop Spokesman Blog

By: Brent Sailhamer, Director of Government Affairs, ABC Keystone

November’s contest could change the makeup of the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and Pennsylvania’s Governor’s mansion. Here are ten races to keep an eye on as the polls close:

Ten Races to Watch

  1. The Governor’s race: Since the day he secured a victory in the May primary, Republican Scott Wagner has trailed incumbent Governor Tom Wolf in the polls. Most polls show Wagner dragging far behind and down by as much as 20 points. Polls proved to be radically unreliable, however, during the 2016 election, when Donald Trump defied political science to secure a victory. While it certainly looks like another four years for Governor Wolf, there’s always the opportunity for a last-minute surprise. Watch for high Republican turnout in Philadelphia suburbs and southwestern counties for a tightening race.
  2. U.S. Senate race: While almost every candidate is now eager to jump on the Trump bandwagon, Congressman Lou Barletta has been there since the beginning. As one of the earliest endorsers of Trump in 2016, his loyalty paid off when Trump offered him the head of the U.S. Department of Labor. Barletta ultimately turned the job down to face two-term incumbent Senator Bob Casey. While polls show Barletta struggling, recent vicious personal attacks by Casey have been met with shame, even from fellow Democrats. Because of his strong defense of the President, this race will be the ultimate litmus test for Trump in Pennsylvania as he looks to 2020.
  3. 177th House district: The 177th House district, which encompasses portions of northeast Philadelphia, has been represented by Republican John Taylor since 1985. Prior to that, the seat was solidly Democratic and now, with Taylor’s retirement, Democrats are looking to get that seat back. Taylor is one of only two Republicans who represent a portion of the City of Philadelphia and has been a crucial negotiator with moderate Democrats on a number of issues.  The district has a large bloc of Polish voters, who are being courted by Republican Patty “Pat” Kozlowski. If Republicans manage to keep this seat, it will be a huge blow for House Democrats, who are seeking to capitalize on a “blue wave.”
  4. 38th Senate district: In 2012, former police officer Randy Vulakovich won a special election to represent the 40th state Senate seat in Allegheny County. Since then, Vulakovich came under fire for a series of controversial votes, including support for tax increases and organized labor. In May, Vulakovich was blindsided by Republican Jeremy Shaffer, who ran on a hard-right, conservative platform and defeated the incumbent. Now Shaffer, who was heavily supported by the Citizens Alliance of Pennsylvania (CAP) – a conservative advocacy group – will face Lindsay Williams, a far-left Democrat.  The district will be losing a moderate Republican and November’s election will show whether the North Hills area of Allegheny County is getting more progressive or more conservative.  This race is a crucial test for the Pittsburgh area, which is evolving rapidly.
  5. 105th House district: House Judiciary Chairman Ron Marsico was first elected to the 105th House district in 1988, representing portions of Dauphin County that surround the City of Harrisburg.  After thirty years, Marsico is leaving the House and Republican Andrew Lewis is aiming to replace him. Lewis narrowly lost to Sen. John DiSanto in 2016 and briefly ran for Congress earlier this year prior to the redistricting fiasco. Dauphin County has emerged as one of the most purple counties in the Commonwealth and Lewis is locked in a tight battle with Democrat activist Eric Epstein.  This race could show Dauphin County’s emergence as a Democrat stronghold or reinforce it as one of four Republican bastions in southcentral Pennsylvania.
  6. 10th Senate district: There is perhaps no county in more evolution than Bucks County.  The longtime Republican stronghold has changed drastically over the past decade. Southern Bucks Republicans are notoriously labor-friendly and far more moderate, which northern Bucks Republicans are mainstay conservatives. With Sen. Chuck McIlhinney’s decision to retire this year, the 10th Senate district is a match-up between conservative Rep. Marguerite Quinn and moderate Democrat and former state House member Steve Santarsiero. The race is a test to see the true colors of Bucks County and recent polls have shown Santarsiero with a comfortable lead. The final test on Election Day will be to see if moderate Republicans are willing to sacrifice the seat to Democrats.
  7. 28th House district: The old saying is that it’s lonely at the top. While he has no opposition for another term as Speaker of the House, Mike Turzai has to get back to Harrisburg first.  Turzai has represented the 28th House district in the Bradford Woods portion of Allegheny County since 2001. His mercurial personality and ardent defense of conservative social issues has put him at odds with other members of House Republican leadership over the years, but he’s managed to maintain a hold on the caucus. As he struggles to maintain order in Harrisburg, his district is changing with the national political trends, leaving him potentially vulnerable.  Polls have shown Democrat Emily Skopov within just a few points of Turzai with less than two weeks to go.  This race would be a major blow to House Republicans looking to come back to Harrisburg in a united front next year.
  8. 10th Congressional district: In response to the 2016 elections, Democrats nationwide have implemented a standard playbook: identify a milquetoast candidate with little baggage and attack Republicans on pre-existing healthcare conditions. Nowhere is this plan more evident than in the 10th Congressional district in Dauphin, Cumberland, and York Counties. Once considered one of the safest Republican districts in the country, Rep. Scott Perry is fighting for his life. Polls show the race as a deadheat between Perry and Democrat challenger George Scott, who highlights his military service, religious background, and his defense of healthcare provisions. This race was also heavily affected by the 2018 redistricting scandal that dramatically reshaped the district. Look for this race to go late into the evening as turnout from the City of Harrisburg will bolster the Democrat and heavy turnout in York and Cumberland Counties will put Perry at ease.
  9. 17th Congressional district: While so much has been made of the rise of the far-left, socialist-leaning faction of the Democrat party, 2018 could define a new model of Democrat for elections to come. Earlier this year, moderate Democrat Conor Lamb shocked the nation by defeating conservative Rick Saccone in a special election in southwest Pennsylvania. Despite heavy support from the President and his family, Saccone lost out to a young, motivated, and polished Lamb, who was subsequently redistricted against incumbent Republican Keith Rothfus.  Rothfus has maintained strong support in his district since he defeated Democrat Mark Critz in 2012, but Democrats are looking to grab the seat back. Lamb is enormously popular in the area, has pledged not to support Rep. Nancy Pelosi for a potential Speaker bid, and is strongly pro-Second Amendment. The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) recently pulled its funding from this race, signaling that Rothfus may be a sinking ship. If Lamb fulfills the polls that show him comfortably ahead, look for more Conor Lambs to appear across the state in 2020.
  10. 157th House district: Perpetually one of the most expensive Republican House districts in Pennsylvania, the 157th district makes up eastern Chester County, the thin red line between rural, conservative Pennsylvania and moderate, suburban Philadelphia. While the seat was solidly Republican until 2008, it was gone back and forth between Rep. Warren Kampf and challengers ever since. Kampf struggles with the emerging political philosophies of the district every cycle and maintains his commitment to rural Chester County. This year, Kampf faces Democrat Melissa Shusterman.  Look for this race to be a predictor of other races across the Commonwealth – the earlier this race gets called, the worse it will be statewide for the losing party.

ABC Voter Information

Every year, the five ABC chapters across Pennsylvania, collectively known as ABC PA, work to evaluate, endorse, and promote candidates for state elected office that will defend the merit shop and support free enterprise. In 2016, 90% of the slate of ABC-endorsed candidates were victorious, growing the number of pro-merit shop elected officials in the General Assembly and statewide row offices. With a tough election looming, here is the list of ABC-endorsed candidates for the November 6th election:

If You Live In… ABC Has Endorsed… For… In The…
Adams Scott Wagner (R) Governor
Rep. Lou Barletta (R) U.S. Senate
Dr. John Joyce (R) U.S. Congress 13th Congressional district
Dan Moul (R) PA House of Representatives 91st state House district
Torren Ecker (R) PA House of Representatives 193rd state House district
Berks Scott Wagner (R) Governor
Rep. Lou Barletta (R) U.S. Senate
Dan David (R) U.S. Congress 4th Congressional district
Greg McCauley (R) U.S. Congress 6th Congressional district
Dan Meuser (R) U.S. Congress 9th Congressional district
Bob Mensch (R) PA Senate 24th state Senate district
Barry Jozwiak (R) PA House of Representatives 5th state House district
Jerry Knowles (R) PA House of Representatives  124th state House district
Vincent Gagliardo Jr. (R) PA House of Representatives 127th state House district
Mark Gillen (R) PA House of Representatives 128th state House district
Jim Cox PA House of Representatives 129th state House district
David Maloney (R) PA House of Representatives 130th state House district
Ryan Mackenzie (R) PA House of Representatives 134th state House district
Gary Day (R) PA House of Representatives 187th state House district
Rep. Lou Barletta (R) U.S. Senate
Rep. Scott Perry (R) U.S. Congress 10th Congressional district
Dr. John Joyce (R) U.S. Congress 13th Congressional district
Judy Ward (R) PA Senate 30th state Senate district
Mark Keller (R) PA House of Representatives 86th state House district
Greg Rothman (R) PA House of Representatives 87th state House district
Sheryl Delozier (R) PA House of Representatives 88th state House district
Dawn Keefer (R) PA House of Representatives 92nd state House district
Torren Ecker (R) PA House of Representatives 193rd state House district
Barb Gleim (R) PA House of Representatives 199th state House district
Cumberland Scott Wagner (R) Governor
Rep. Lou Barletta (R) U.S. Senate
Rep. Scott Perry (R) U.S. Congress 10th Congressional district
Dr. John Joyce (R) U.S. Congress 13th Congressional district
Judy Ward (R) PA Senate 30th state Senate district
Mark Keller (R) PA House of Representatives 86th state House district
Greg Rothman (R) PA House of Representatives 87th state House district
Sheryl Delozier (R) PA House of Representatives 88th state House district
Dawn Keefer (R) PA House of Representatives 92nd state House district
Torren Ecker (R) PA House of Representatives 193rd state House district
Barb Gleim (R) PA House of Representatives 199th state House district
 

 

 

 

 

Dauphin

 

 

 

Scott Wagner (R) Governor
Rep. Lou Barletta (R) U.S. Senate
Rep. Scott Perry (R) U.S. Congress 10th Congressional district
Mike Folmer (R) PA Senate 48th state Senate district
Dave Hickernell (R) PA House of Representatives 98th state House district
Anthony Harrell (R) PA House of Representatives 103rd state House district
Sue Helm (R) PA House of Representatives 104th state House district
Andrew Lewis (R) PA House of Representatives 105th state House district
Mike Tobash (R) PA House of Representatives 125th state House district
 

 

 

 

Franklin

 

 

Scott Wagner (R) Governor
Lou Barletta (R) U.S. Senate
Dr. John Joyce (R) U.S. Congress 13th Congressional district
Judy Ward (R) PA Senate 30th state Senate district
Rob Kauffman (R) PA House of Representatives 89th state House district
Paul Schemel (R) PA House of Representatives 90th state House district

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lancaster

Scott Wagner (R) Governor
Rep. Lou Barletta (R) U.S. Senate
Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R) U.S. Congress 11th Congressional district
Ryan Aument (R) PA Senate 36th state Senate district
John Lawrence (R) PA House of Representatives 13th state House district
Mindy Fee (R) PA House of Representatives 37th state House district
Brett Miller (R) PA House of Representatives 41st state House district
Keith Greiner (R) PA House of Representatives 43rd state House district
Steve Mentzer (R) PA House of Representatives 97th state House district
Dave Hickernell (R) PA House of Representatives 98th state House district
Dave Zimmerman (R) PA House of Representatives 99th state House district
Bryan Cutler (R) PA House of Representatives 100th state House district
Mark Gillen (R) PA House of Representatives 128th state House district
Jim Cox (R) PA House of Representatives 129th state House district
 

 

 

 

Lebanon

Scott Wagner (R) Governor
Rep. Lou Barletta (R) U.S Senate
Dan Meuser (R) U.S. Congress 9th Congressional district
Mike Folmer (R) PA Senate 48th state Senate district
Frank Ryan (R) PA House of Representatives 101st state House district
Russ Diamond (R) PA House of Representatives 102nd state House district
Sue Helm (R) PA House of Representatives 104th state House district
 

 

 

Perry

Scott Wagner (R) Governor
Rep. Lou Barletta (R) U.S. Senate
Tom Marino (R) U.S. Congress 12th Congressional district
Mark Keller (R) PA House of Representatives 86th state House district
 

 

Schuylkill

Scott Wagner (R) Governor
Rep. Lou Barletta (R) U.S. Senate
Dan Meuser (R) U.S. Congress 9th Congressional district
Jerry Knowles (R) PA House of Representatives 124th state House district
Mike Tobash (R) PA House of Representatives 125th state House district
 

 

 

 

 

 

York

Scott Wagner (R) Governor
Rep. Lou Barletta (R) U.S. Senate
Rep. Scott Perry (R) U.S. Congress 10th Congressional district
Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R) U.S. Congress 11th Congressional district
Kristin Phillips-Hill (R) PA Senate 28th state Senate district
Mike Folmer (R) PA Senate 48th state Senate district
Keith Gillespie (R) PA House of Representatives 47th state House district
Dawn Keefer (R) PA House of Representatives 92nd state House district
Mike Jones (R) PA House of Representatives 93rd state House district
Stan Saylor (R) PA House of Representatives 94th state House district
Kate Klunk (R) PA House of Representatives 169th state House district
Seth Grove (R) PA House of Representatives 196th state House district