Two caucuses will be led by women, Republicans secure a second statewide row office, and the President attacks a Philly Republican. All of that and more are in this week’s Ups and Downs.
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Election results keep finalizing, and there are few outstanding race calls for the state legislature, while multiple congressional candidates have also yet to concede. The following arrows deal with the conclusions we can already make. Last week’s Ups and Downs dealt with the results that were available as of Nov. 6.
As of Friday, Nov. 13, here’s who has had a good election and who hasn’t in the Commonwealth.
Kim Ward. A historic first for the state Senate. On Thursday, Ward, a Westmoreland County Republican, was elected to serve as the Senate Majority Leader for the upcoming session, replacing Sen. Jake Corman, who was elevated to Senate President Pro Tempore. Ward will become the first woman in the history of the Pennsylvania state Senate to serve as the Majority Leader and the most powerful woman in Pennsylvania politics this century.
Joanna McClinton. Pennsylvania has a new political star. The Philly state Rep won election as the Leader of a new, younger and more progressive House Democratic leadership team. She made history, twice: she is the first woman to lead a Pa. House caucus, and the first Black representative to lead a caucus since Leroy Irvis. Her victory represents the ascendancy of eastern Pa., of progressives within the House Dems after the fall of Frank Dermody, who conceded his race this week.
Stacy Garrity. Perhaps the biggest shocker in all of the races this cycle in Pennsylvania was the outcome of the Treasurer’s race. Republican Stacy Garrity, an Iraq War veteran and businesswoman, defeated incumbent Democrat Joe Torsella in the Treasurer’s race. Garrity’s victory is also a loss for Gov. Tom Wolf as she will now have a say in future budget fights.
Josh Shapiro. Democrats have at least one Democrat that won a statewide row office in 2020. Attorney General Josh Shapiro secured a second term by defeating Republican challenger Heather Heidelbaugh. Although Shapiro entered the race as the favorite, his victory is still impressive. The Montgomery County Democrat won reelection, while the two other Democrats seeking statewide row office lost to Republicans. Oh and as of Friday afternoon, he is the highest vote getter in the commonwealth this cycle, (although former VP Joe Biden only trails him by 5,000 votes and could surpass his total).
Gracious Losers. While we acknowledge the big winners of the 2020 election, it’s also important to tip your cap to those who lost with grace. Treasurer Joe Torsella delivered a nice concession speech posted to Youtube and Sen. Tom Killion congratulated Democrat John Kane for his victory in the race for the 9th Senate District. A peaceful transition of power is important and we applaud the elected officials in candidates who didn’t receive the result they were aiming for, but lost with grace.
Dean Browning. “Each day on twitter there is one main character. The goal is to never be it” — @maplecocaine. This week, in the most confusing and weirdest story in recent memory, Dean Browning was it. He is the former Lehigh County Commissioner and two-time GOP congressional hopeful. However, the internet at-large was introduced to him as someone else. On Tuesday, Browning responded to an individual under his own since-deleted tweet claiming that he was a “black gay guy” who “felt respected” by President Donald Trump. Browning is married to a woman and is not Black. Although the tweet has since been deleted, the story took a twist when he claimed that the tweet he sent was instead a message relayed to him from someone else, which ended up resulting in a video posted to Twitter under “Dan Purdy” defending Trump. The man who posted this supposed message is also reportedly a nephew of Patti LaBelle. Who knows where the story will land — 2020 isn’t over yet.
Martina White. The GOP rep from Philly earned a resounding victory at the ballot box last week. At the same time as city party chairwoman, she has to balance a party leader in Donald Trump who this week blasted one of the city’s few Republican officials. White coasted to a large victory in HD-170, winning by a larger margin than her 2018 bid, plus she was elected to House GOP leadership. At the same time, President Donald Trump accused Philadelphia GOP Commissioner Al Schmidt of ignoring corruption in the city’s election, without proof, in a tweet. When reached for comment, White, who is also the Chair of the Philadelphia Republican Party, did not respond to a request for comment to PoliticsPA.
Biden Bellwether Counties. Pundits can point to a number of reasons that former VP Joe Biden was able to successfully flip Pennsylvania back in the win column for Democrats, but one area that should certainly be stressed was his gains in multiple bellwether counties. In 2016, then-GOP candidate Donald Trump flipped Erie, Luzerne, and Northampton Counties from red to blue. In 2020, Biden flipped Erie and Northampton Counties back in the win column for Democrats.
TWEET OF THE WEEK
Don’t be. https://t.co/cPTZY6v67W
— Stephen Caruso (@StephenJ_Caruso) November 13, 2020