Post-Election Ups & Downs
The election is over and the dust has settled. Here’s who stood out on Tuesday and who wants a redo.
Tom Corbett. Voters sent lots of mixed signals on Tuesday, re-election incumbents of both parties. But one clear message is this: Corbett is on notice. Almost every office that switched parties in Pa. – namely Attorney General and 3 state Senate seats – were referenda on the Governor. From his tough, hold the line budgets, to his handling of Jerry Sandusky, Democrats are chomping at the bit to challenge him and may now score a top tier recruit to do it.
SDCC. The campaign arm of the Pa. Senate Democrats has been maligned for years as ineffective – a destination for patronage favorites. Not any more. Under the leadership of Sen. Daylin Leach and ED Aren Platt, the committee went 100% professional this cycle and scored 3 seats – the biggest pickup for Dems since 1970.
SP&R and GOP pollsters. A lot of Republicans lost on Tuesday for a lot of different reasons. But the main reason so few of them saw it coming was bad polls. Their optimistic assumptions – that Obama’s 2008 would be too depressed to show up again in 2012 – were dead wrong. Those mistakes infected their polling and resulted in millions of dollars being misspent. In Pa., the poster child for the mistake was Susquehanna Polling and Research, the pollster of the PAGOP.
Mike Fitzpatrick. He was supposed to be vulnerable. Democrats targeted him above any other Pa. Republican in Congress this cycle. He won by 13 points: on par with Mike Kelly and outperforming Charlie Dent. Don’t be surprised if Dems decide to give him a pass in 2014; he term-limited himself and won’t run in 2016 when they might score a cheaper pickup.
HRCC. A lot of things broke for the Democrats this cycle: GOP-friendly redistricting maps were thrown out, Gov. Corbett’s approval numbers sank, and Obama’s name on the ballot would be a big boost in SEPA. But the House Republican Campaign Committee held firm, thanks in large part to a dominant fundraising effort. The GOP will likely either lose net 1 seat or stay even in the state House, meaning that they’ll keep their sizeable majority.
Challengers. After kicking out huge numbers of incumbents in 2006, 2008 and 2010, Pa. voters finally decided to let lawmakers and officials stay at work for a bit. The state voted out exactly 2 incumbents Tuesday, Mark Critz (D) and Tom Quigley (R). The fate of two more – Rick Saccone and Justin Simmons – will be clear soon. That’s on top of 7 in the primary. All other party flips were offices where the incumbent is retiring. That’s a maximum of 11 in a year that 249 offices went to the vote.
OFA. Instead of big drop-offs in turnout in Philly or among young voters or minorities, those numbers stayed on par with 2008 levels. That didn’t happen by accident. Obama’s grassroots campaign won even the begrudging respect of Republicans across Pa. Tuesday.
Tweet of the Week: J.D. Prose of the Beaver County Times.
He… was ahead of the curve vis-a-vis polling.
Other Trib polls: Darth Vader 48%/Luke Skywalker 47%; Coke/New Coke tied at 49%; Good 48%/Evil 50%
— J.D. Prose (@jdprose) November 4, 2012