After the craziness of the last 72 hours, we decided to reach out to some experts and included some others for their take on what transpired on Tuesday in Pennsylvania.
Professor of Political Science
Director, Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion
“Mastriano’s final margin demonstrates the breadth of the MAGA movement within the Pennsylvania GOP electorate. He offered voters an unvarnished option that allowed him to separate from the field. His culture warrior approach may not be a great fit in a general election cycle in PA, and in most election years he would not have a path to winning statewide. However, he has a cycle that greatly benefits Republicans and if economic conditions remain challenging he could ride a wave that allows him to be quite competitive with Shapiro.
As for the Senate race, Kathy Barnette’s late surge took a toll on Oz and helped create the extremely tight race that has played out. A recount will certainly add even more acrimony to the Oz-McCormick relationship, but I’m not sure once the result is finalized it will hinder the winner’s prospect this fall.”
Professor of Politics, Juniata College
“Pennsylvania primary voters, rather than looking to the center for candidates that might do better in the general election, really embrace the extremes of their parties. Democrats clearly favored John Fetterman over Conor Lamb, the more establishment candidate.
On the GOP Senate side, two Trump-esque candidates – Oz and Kathy Barnette – got half of the vote, leaving McCormick ahead. Primary voters are party faithful. They’re not in the mood to look for candidates that appeal to independents. Barnette may have cut into Oz’s potential. A recount won’t hurt or help the winner in the general. It will show the GOP couldn’t decide.”
Director, Center for Opinion Research
Franklin & Marshall College
“I think after 2020, we knew the process of counting vote-by-mail ballots needed to be fixed. Clearly we haven’t done it. That’s on our political leaders. It’s unexcusable when you how other states are able to do it. Citizens want to use mail ballots. There were nearly 1 million requested. So why don’t we fix the problem.
This is exactly what we saw in our polling. Our polling showed a bit of a surge for Kathy Barnette – in that poll we report among Trump-faction of voters that Barnette and Oz split, leaving door open for McCormick. Both Barnette and Oz were competing for the Trump faction, so Barnette’s rise hurt Oz.”
Political Reporter, Philadelphia Inquirer
“Mastriano really won this thing with next to no fundraising operation,” she told WESA-FM. What that looks like in a general election and whether the party rallies around Mastriano the way he would need them to to be competitive and the money raised will be interesting.
Fetterman tapped into a growing populist electorate in Pennsylvania, combining that appeal with a progressive message. He got into the race early and set up an unbeatable fund-raising operation. And his “every county” strategy — combined with a social media campaign and TV ads — blanketed his brand statewide.”
Columnist, The Morning Call
“Gov. Doug Mastriano. If that has you rummaging for your Tums, you have plenty of company. Save some for me. Pennsylvania quickly would become Florida with him as king and a GOP-controlled Legislature to carry out his bidding. The Republican establishment did all it could to prevent Mastriano, a 2020 election conspiracy champion and friend of the QAnon crowd, from winning Tuesday. It doesn’t think he has a prayer of beating well-financed Democrat Josh Shapiro in November.
Don’t believe it? It’s a real possibility.”