PoliticsPA Editorial: Why SD-11 Was a Big Win for Democrats
Our coverage of the election results in the 11th Senate District have generated a great deal of debate today, with Republicans and conservatives arguing that we exaggerated the importance of Schwank’s win yesterday.
They bring up a number of good points, but generally they note that Democrats enjoy a large registration advantage and say that a Schwank win was practically inevitable.
Chris Buchignani summed it up best, tweeting: “C’mon “mojo?” It’s a special election in a dist w/ a 20% registration edge. “Dems shoot fish in barrel” would also work.”
Here’s why we say it matters.
First, hindsight is 20/20. With Schwank’s comfortable 15.3% win, it’s easy to now say it was always a pipe dream for the GOP. But the fact is, when Republicans looked at polling of the district and the race, they saw numbers that showed them that it was worth an investment close to $200,000. No one can say that $200K isn’t a serious chunk of change.
Second, Tom Corbett won this district. By a lot, 54 to 45 percent. It’s easy now to point to the registration numbers and say fat chance GOP. But the fact is that the people who voted for Corbett in 2010 either stayed home yesterday, or voted for Judy Schwank. That undermines the idea that there’s been a permanent shift in voter mentality toward the Republican party.
Third, it’s a victory for Democrats in the biggest race so far in 2011. Schwank won by a wide margin in a contested race, one week after Governor Corbett unveiled his budget proposal. And we at PoliticsPA honestly expect that it will give pause to the number of Republican state Senators or Representatives elected from Democratic or swing districts across the state who don’t have the luxury of waiting for 2014 to run for reelection, who will have to stand on these tough cuts as the 2012 presidential campaign year begins.
In summary, there can be reasonable debate as to how bad this was for the GOP. At the end of the day, they control the PA Senate 30-20 and have a solid hold on the PA House. However, there can be no debate that this was a big win for Dems.