How Josh Shapiro Won PA

Attorney General Josh Shapiro will be the lone statewide row office holder to be sworn-in for a second term on Tuesday. He secured a second term by defeating GOP challenger Heather Heidelbaugh in 2020. His 4.5 point victory was the largest margin of victory of the three statewide row office races, plus the presidential showdown in Pennsylvania during the most recent election. We break down how his victory sizes up with other Democrats on the ballot and his 2016 performance. 

Although former Vice President Joe Biden flipped the state back in the win column for the Democrats, Shapiro received the most votes of any candidate for the 2020 election in the state. According to data pulled from the Department of State, Shapiro garnered 3,461,472 votes, while Biden received 3,458,229. 

Shapiro was the highest performing Democrat of the four statewide candidates and outperformed Biden in 62 counties. The lone counties in which Biden outpaced Shapiro in margin of victory or loss percentage was Centre, Chester, Cumberland, Delaware, and Lancaster counties. 

Shapiro outperformed Biden by double digits in the following 16 counties: Beaver (13%), Cambria (12%), Clarion (10%), Columbia (10%), Fayette (15%), Forest (11%), Greene (18%), Indiana (13%), Lackawanna (12%), Lawrence (14%), Luzerne (14%), Schuylkill (11%), Sullivan (10%), Venango (10%), Washington (11%), Westmoreland (12%). 

Shapiro improved his margins in 33 counties in comparison to 2016 victory over Republican John Rafferty. Following the trends of Democrats across the country, he saw the biggest gains in suburban counties. 

Shapiro saw double digits improvements in the following three counties: Chester (10.98%), Cumberland (10.24%), and Dauphin (10.30%) in comparison to his 2016 race. 

However, like other Democrats nationwide, Shapiro’s numbers did dip in more rural counties as well. He saw his margin of defeat increase by double digits in the following six counties: Cambria (12%), Clearfield (10%), Clinton (11%), Elk (14%), Greene (11%), and Huntingdon (11%). 

In 2020, Shapiro won 14 counties, which is more than any other Democrat who ran statewide. Here are the counties he won, accompanied by his margin of victory: Allegheny (27.63%), Bucks (4.78%), Centre (2.86%), Chester (11.14%), Dauphin (11%), Delaware (23.46%), Erie (7.37%), Lackawanna (20.75%), Lehigh (9.02%), Luzerne (0.18%), Monroe (9.50%), Montgomery (26.65%), Northampton (2.88%), and Philadelphia (64.19%). 

While Biden successfully flipped Northampton and Erie counties into the win column in 2020, Shapiro was the lone Democrat to win and flip Luzerne County. In 2016, Shapiro narrowly lost Luzerne, but edged out Heidelbaugh there this past November. 

2 Responses

  1. His being the lead Democratic candy- indeed the lead candidate for either Party is a pathetic example of the mediocrity of the present political hacks in the Commonwealth. Grabbing for headlines he is good at- executive skills and leadership- ShApiro is clueless. Let’s hope someone competent and not a hack like Shapiro gets into race

  2. Pa voters like law and order candidates. Josh is doing a great job. Josh Shapiro has done a lot to stand up to the Harrisburg big wigs and fight for the little guy. His victory makes him a compelling candidate to face the Republicans in 2022 for Gov.

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