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November 18th Playbook

Pennsylvania announces record turnout for the 2020 presidential election, while Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey unveil nursing home reform legislation. Here is the Playbook. 

PA Announces Record High Voter Turnout For 2020 Election: More than 6.9 million Pennsylvanians voted by mail ballot or in person at the polls for this presidential election.

Dem Group Pushes Philly Public School Superintendent as Education Secretary Candidate: According to an email obtained by Chalkbeat, Superintendent Dr. William Hite is one of three candidates being promoted by Democrats for Education Reform. KYW Newsradio reports that Hite is happy to be named on the list, but has not been contacted by the Biden campaign.

Casey, Toomey Unveil Nursing Home Reform Legislation: The Nursing Home Reform Modernization Act of 2020 aims to enhance accountability among the Nation’s poorest performing nursing homes.

Three of the four caucuses have elected their leadership for the upcoming session in Harrisburg, while Senate Democrats are expected to vote on a new leadership team this week.

As of Wednesday morning, we still are waiting for a call in a few state legislature races and multiple congressional candidates have also yet to concede. 

Want to see results from previous days? Check out PoliticsPA’s Wednesday (Nov. 4), Thursday (Nov. 5), Friday (Nov. 6), Monday (Nov. 9), Tuesday (Nov. 10), Wednesday (Nov. 11), Thursday (Nov. 12), Friday (Nov. 13), Monday (Nov. 16), and Tuesday (Nov. 17), Election Playbooks. 

Here’s an update of where we stand as of Wednesday, Nov. 18 in PA. 

President. Former Vice President Joe Biden has defeated President Donald Trump in Pennsylvania. The AP called the race for Biden on Nov. 7 at 11:25 A.M. As of Wednesday morning, Biden leads Trump by 82,092 votes (1.2%) in the state with 98% estimated to be in. 

Statewide. For Attorney General, Josh Shapiro defeated GOP challenger Heather Heidelbaugh. The AP called the race for Shapiro on Nov. 6. As of Wednesday morning, Shapiro leads Heidelbaugh by 305,761 votes (4.52%). For Auditor General, Republican Tim DeFoor defeated Democrat Nina Ahmad. The AP called the race for DeFoor on Nov. 6. As of Wednesday morning, DeFoor leads by 207,632 votes (3.09%). For Treasurer, Republican challenger Stacy Garrity defeated incumbent Treasurer Joe Torsella. On Nov. 10, Torsella conceded in the race. As of Wednesday morning, Garrity leads by 52,015 votes (0.78%). 

Congressional Races 

All incumbents have secured another term in Congress, although a few challengers have yet to concede in their races. 

PA7: Rep. Susan Wild (D-Lehigh) has defeated GOP challenger Lisa Scheller. The AP called the race for Wild on Nov. 6. As of Wednesday morning, Wild leads by 13,548 votes (or by 3.6 points) with 97% of estimated votes reported. Scheller has not conceded in the race.

PA8: Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna) has defeated GOP challenger Jim Bognet. The AP called the race for Cartwright on Nov. 6. As of Wednesday morning, Cartwright leads by 12,067 votes (or by 3.6 points) with 95% of estimated votes reported. Bognet has not conceded in the race.

PA17: Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Allegheny) has defeated GOP challenger Sean Parnell. The AP called the race for Lamb on Nov. 7. As of Wednesday morning, Lamb leads by 2.2 points (9,856 votes) and his lead looks to expand as more mail ballots are counted. Parnell has not conceded in the race.

State Senate and House

So far Republicans have flipped four state House seats, (HD-33), (HD-55), (HD-123), and (HD-143), most notably unseating House Minority Leader Frank Dermody (D-Allegheny). Democrats have flipped one seat in the Philly suburbs (HD-152), although are still holding out hope to flip one other seat. For the state Senate, Republicans have flipped one seat in western PA (SD-37), while Democrats have flipped one seat in the Philly suburbs (SD-9), and another race in western PA has not been called yet. 

While results are not final in a number of districts, here’s an update of where things stand in competitive House and Senate races in PA. If we missed a competitive race where most results are in, and at least some writing is on the wall, please send me a note at


State Senate 

SD-45: Sen. Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny) leads GOP challenger Nicole Ziccarelli by 30 votes, as of Wednesday morning, according to DOS. Ziccarelli filed an appeal in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on Thursday to “overturn a recent decision by the county’s board of elections that greenlighted the counting of 2,349 mail-in ballots – which were otherwise correct and submitted on time, but without a printed date on the outside,” according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A ruling on the matter is expected by Wednesday, according to the Post-Gazette

State House

HD-168: Rep. Chris Quinn (R-Delaware) leads Democratic challenger Deb Ciamacca by just over 2 points, according to DOS. 

Harrisburg & DC   
Spotlight PA: Two women just made history in the Pa. legislature. Will that be the last thing they have in common? 
Spotlight PA: Spanish speakers in Pa. faced confused poll workers, lack of interpreters on Election Day 
AP: A rusty Giuliani returns to the courtroom on Trump’s behalf 
AP: In court, Giuliani argues to block Biden win in Pennsylvania
AP: Pennsylvania sharpens mask mandate, orders virus testing
AP: Pennsylvania lawmakers aim to fill virus-inflicted deficit
AP: Pennsylvania judge accused of making racist remarks resigns 
AP: Pennsylvania school disciplined for marching band’s costumes
Post-Gazette: Trump legal effort championed by Giuliani in court as another suit is dismissed 
Post-Gazette: Rep. Kelly unveils bill to overhaul elections, requiring states count mail-in votes ahead of Election Day 
Post-Gazette: As deaths mount, Pa. senators push for more federal scrutiny of low-performing nursing homes
Patriot News: Pa. Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm says personal vendetta foiled her bid for another term
Patriot News: No decision yet on Trump campaign’s effort to block certification of election results
Patriot News: No sanctions for attorney who left harassing email for Trump campaign lawyer: judge
Patriot News: Pa. election turnout may set record, nearly all provision ballots counted
Patriot News: Split Pa. Supreme Court voids one of Trump’s few legal wins in challenge to Keystone State vote
Patriot News: Giuliani repeats ‘widespread nationwide voter fraud’ claim at hearing on Trump challenge to Pa. vote
Patriot News: Did Trump’s last lawyer standing Marc Scaringi say the president’s legal fights are a lost cause?
WITF: PA Victim Advocate Criticizes Senate ‘No’ Vote As ‘Political Vendetta’
WHYY Newsworks: Pa. Supreme Court rules against Trump campaign
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: ‘I spoke truth to power’: Ousted Pa. Victim Advocate Storm slams Senate GOP over vote to deny her another term
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Pa. lays out COVID travel restrictions ahead of holidays, without guarantee of enforcement
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Pa. Supreme Court sides with Philly over Trump campaign in ballot-counting dispute
Pennsylvania Capital-Star: Pa.’s ‘Better Angels’ COVID strategy is a failure. It’s time to bring the hammer down | Wednesday Morning Coffee
Inquirer: Rudy Giuliani and Trump’s last-stand push to overturn Pa.’s election results get a frosty reception in court 
Inquirer: Thousands in Pa. are put on a child-abuse registry with no hearing. They say it’s ruining their lives. 
Inquirer: Pa. imposes a broader mask mandate as officials try to stem a surge in virus hospitalizations 
Morning Call: Biden vs. Trump showdown drove Pennsylvania voter turnout to historic high
Morning Call: Pennsylvania’s new COVID travel restrictions and mask requirements: What you need to know
WESA: Much Of Pennsylvania’s Rental Assistance Remains Unspent
KDKA: ‘Just Wear A Mask:’ Lt. Gov. John Fetterman Pleads With Pennsylvanians To Be Safe Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases
PLSReporter: Pennsylvania unveils ‘targeted’ mitigation measures as COVID cases, hospitalizations increase 
Fox News: PA gov announces new COVID rules, including wearing a mask in your house 
Fox News: Colin Kaepernick calls for release of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal: ‘Free Mumia’ 
Fox News: Trump campaign loses Pennsylvania Supreme Court challenge to Philadelphia election observers
National Journal: HOTLINE EXTRA: The 2022 Senate races
CNHI News: Key lawmakers back move toward allowing tolls on more bridges 
The Hill: Top Pennsylvania court rebuffs Trump campaign’s vote-count observation lawsuit
Huffington Post: Rudy Giuliani’s ‘Disgraceful’ Arguments To Disenfranchise Pa. Voters Didn’t Go So Well
CNN: Pennsylvania AG: Drop this manufactured game of fraud 
CNN: Rudy Giuliani’s day in a Pennsylvania courtroom representing Donald Trump 
CNN: Pennsylvania Supreme Court rules Trump campaign observers had no right to stand within a specific distance during Philadelphia ballot processing
StateImpactPA: Bill in state House would loosen pollution reporting requirements 
Politico: Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejects complaints about Philadelphia election observations 

WHYY Newsworks: ‘An extraordinary election’: Nearly 750K votes later, Philly’s ballot counting is officially over 
WHYY Newsworks: Philadelphia Housing Authority vows to send 240 vacant properties to nonprofit developers 
WHYY Newsworks: SEPTA keeps no-enforcement mask policy as other transit agencies begin fines 
WHYY Newsworks: ‘Mad or nah?’: Philly reacts to Trump’s post-election defiance
Billy Penn: Philadelphia turnout for the 2020 election was the highest in 25 years 
Billy Penn: Philly’s chief homicide prosecutor demoted as murders reach three-decade high
Inquirer: District Attorney Larry Krasner replaces his top homicide prosecutor 
Inquirer: Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia School District to help with asbestos, lead abatement 
Inquirer: A managing editor for The Atlantic joins Philadelphia Inquirer board
Inquirer: Six-week shutdown could mean a ‘year without Christmas’ for Philly businesses 
Inquirer: Everything to know about COVID-19 in the region right now | Morning Newsletter
Philadelphia Tribune: Local businesses react to latest restrictions 
KYW Newsradio: Pa. Supreme Court rules against Trump campaign in Philadelphia poll watchers case
KYW Newsradio: Philadelphia’s chief legal officer is leaving city government for private sector
KYW Newsradio: Rudy Giuliani argues in federal court all Pennsylvania votes should be tossed
KYW Newsradio: Penn pledges $100M to Philly public schools over next 10 years
KYW Newsradio: Restaurants, bars fear new Philly restrictions won’t allow them to stay open through winter
Philadelphia Magazine: Yes, Even Your Outdoor Socially Distanced Thanksgiving Party Is Banned
Philly Voice: Penn to donate $100 million to the School District of Philadelphia for environmental repairs such as asbestos
Philly Voice: Colin Kaepernick calls for release of convicted Philly cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal from prison  
Philly Voice: Larry Krasner replaces chief homicide prosecutor accused of abusing power  
Philly Voice: Penn to donate $100 million to the School District of Philadelphia for environmental repairs such as asbestos  
Philly Voice: Reputed mob boss Joey Merlino roped into bizarre Philly election fraud conspiracy
Philadelphia Business Journal: Hundreds of hospitality leaders to rally in Harrisburg on Wednesday for Covid-19 relief 
Philadelphia Business Journal: Philadelphia City Solicitor Marcel Pratt returning to private practice 
Philadelphia Business Journal: University of Pennsylvania pledges $100M to Philadelphia public schools
Delaware Valley Journal: Rep. Kevin Boyle Raises PAC Money from Brother Brendan to Pay for Defamation Suit Defense  

Delco Daily Times: Detractors fume over negative impact of pipeline 
Daily Local News: Despite skyrocketing coronavirus cases, no new restrictions for Chester County 
KYW Newsradio: St. Mary Medical Center nurses stage 2-day strike
Montgomery Media: Montgomery County records 1,828 new coronavirus cases, 7 deaths over 7-day period
Bucks County Courier Times: St. Mary Medical Center nurses strike 
Bucks County Courier Times: Bucks County reports 12 deaths, record COVID cases 

Post-Gazette: Imminent legal decision could decide Brewster-Ziccarelli Pa. Senate race
Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh, partner encouraging women to seek spots on city’s boards and commissions 
Post-Gazette: No tax hike sought in PPS 2021 budget proposal 
Post-Gazette: Judge Tranquilli resigns ahead of misconduct trial
Post-Gazette: 100 Pittsburgh police officers quarantining for possible COVID-19 exposure 
WESA: Allegheny County Judge To Decide Whether 2,349 Mail-In Ballots Can Be Counted 
WESA: Port Authority Asks For Public Input On The Future Of Transportation In The Region
Tribune Review: ‘Marshall Plan for Middle America’ calls for billions to be spent to help Western Pa. go green
Tribune Review: Allegheny County judge to weigh mail-in ballot issue in Nicole Zicarelli challenge
Tribune Review: Allegheny County Judge Tranquilli resigns before misconduct trial
Tribune Review: About 100 Pittsburgh police officers in quarantine over covid-19 concerns 
Tribune Review: Allegheny County reports 288 new covid-19 cases
City Paper: UPDATE: Fox Chapel Borough Council votes to remove slur against Native Americans from trail and street names 
City Paper: An ongoing tally of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in Allegheny County
KDKA: Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto & United WE Partner To Increase Representation Of Woman On Civic Boards
KDKA: Rudy Giuliani Appears In Pa. Court As Trump’s Attorney Argues Mail-In Votes Should Be Disqualified
KDKA: Allegheny Co. Judge Mark Tranquilli, Accused Of Making Racist Comments, Resigns Before Misconduct Trial 
KDKA: Coronavirus Restrictions Could Return To Allegheny County As COVID-19 Cases Surge Across Western Pa. 
KDKA: COVID-19 In Pittsburgh: About 100 Police Officers Are Quarantining After Multiple Public Safety Members Test Positive 
KDKA: COVID-19 In Pittsburgh: Allegheny Co. Health Dept. Reports 288 New Cases, 3 Additional Deaths 
Pittsburgh Business Times: Pittsburgh, United WE announce initiative to increase number of women on local civic boards, commissions 

Beaver County Times: Pa. Rep. Bernstine posted on Snapchat enticing his son, 5, to smoke cigar. He was re-elected 
Johnstown Tribune-Democrat: Two General Assembly members emphasize vote count 
Observer-Reporter: Provisional, other ballots added to Washington County totals 
Altoona Mirror: Blair eyes reserve funds

The Times Leader: Luzerne County Election Board wraps up its review of Nov. 3 ballots 
The Times Leader: Gaming grant applications back on Wilkes-Barre city council agenda, none for COVID-19 relief 
The Times Leader: 223 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Luzerne County; 5,900 statewide
Citizens Voice: Hospitals preparing for surge of COVID-19 patients as state announces new measures 
Citizens Voice: 223 new COVID-19 cases reported in Luzerne County
Times-Tribune: Scranton City Council introduces budget, seeks details on plans to close shortfall
Times-Tribune: Lackawanna County commissioners, prison board meet today
Times-Tribune: Levine adds travel, mask and testing restrictions as COVID-19 surges

South Central 
LNP | LancasterOnline: Lancaster County man whose ballot was rejected joins Trump lawsuit in Pa.
LNP | LancasterOnline: Lancaster County COVID-19 strategy remains the same as cases, hospitalizations rise
LNP | LancasterOnline: Tuesday’s COVID-19 updates: Lancaster County gains 169 new cases in 24-hour span
York Dispatch: Trump’s top lawyer challenging election results in Pa. is a local
York Dispatch: York County breaks record with 238 new COVID-19 cases
Patriot News: Harrisburg residents want more attention placed on public safety matters
Patriot News: Did Trump’s last lawyer standing Marc Scaringi say the president’s legal fights are a lost cause?
Carlisle Sentinel: Carlisle borough proposes 2021 budget with no tax increase, but water rate hike
Carlisle Sentinel: Levine strengthens masking order for Pa., requires negative tests for visitors
Carlisle Sentinel: DOH: 113 new COVID-19 cases reported in Cumberland County Tuesday; York hits more than 200 cases 

Lehigh Valley      
WFMZ: Bethlehem Township commissioners propose flat rate 2021 budget 
WFMZ: Emmaus votes to close town hall by week’s end 
WFMZ: Local businesses bracing for possibility of further restrictions down the road 
Reading Eagle: Reading will not avoid a tax increase for 2021, the city’s financial overseer predicts
Reading Eagle: Reading Parking Authority gets a clean audit, the first time in years
Reading Eagle: Berks County records 191 new coronavirus cases as longer-term trends reach new highs
Morning Call: Pennsylvania’s new COVID travel restrictions and mask requirements: What you need to know
Express Times: Pa. coronavirus update: new record of 5,900 new cases; state reaches 275K total cases; Levine issues travel mandate; Lehigh Valley nearing 16K total cases | Pa. COVID-19 county map (11/17/20)

North by Northwest
Centre Daily Times: Centre County district judge to retire after 3 terms, 40-plus years of public service
Centre Daily Times: COVID-19 cases have engulfed Pennsylvania. Here’s what it means for Centre County
Centre Daily Times: Nov. 17 update: Pa. sets record with 5,900 new cases of COVID-19; Centre County adds 62 
Williamsport Sun-Gazette: Heavy police presence in place for Trump campaign hearing here
Williamsport Sun-Gazette: Trump lawsuit amended before hearing
Williamsport Sun-Gazette: State reports 53 more confirmed cases in Lycoming County
Erie Times-News: NPRC, Erie County Community College seek leaders
Erie Times-News: COVID-19 surges as Erie college students leave

Benjamin Pontz: Advice for Tom Wolf on dealing with the Legislature during the pandemic … from Tom Wolf 
Paul Muschick: Shutdowns aren’t the way to control coronavirus. Instead Pa. needs to punish those who break the rules already in place.
Lisa Schaefer: Counties need partnership, not partisanship for meaningful improvements to election policies
York Dispatch Editorial Board: PIAA needs to make hard decision to delay, shorten winter sports season 
Inquirer Editorial Board: For Biden, ending U.S. climate retreat is just a start 
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Biden team must have access 
Post-Gazette Editorial Board: Foundations against racism
Will Bunch Newsletter: How Trump became all of America’s Frank Rizzo 
Diana Nelson Jones: Walkabout: A discussion on sacrifice and who owns the wind 
Bruce Ledewitz: This year’s divided electorate is a reminder of why we need workable, governing majorities 
Gene Therapy: Media not helping with Trump withdrawal
Chris Freind: How Biden trumped Trump: Why the president lost
Naomi Washington-Leapheart: Do Black lives matter only after someone’s death? 
Kee Tobar: Police killed my mentally ill stepbrother. Now, we have to call police again. 
Maria Panaritis: Local restaurants are being pushed to the brink. The love of strangers can save them. 
Avram Hornik: Morgan’s Pier owner: City officials are leaving restaurant owners out of the COVID conversation
Helen Ubiñas: ‘Weight of Death’ docuseries illustrates the depth and breadth of Philly’s gun violence 
Jason N. Peters: A Soft Coup for Me & You 
Albert Eisenberg: The magnificent moderation of Susan Collins
Signe Wilkinson: Political Cartoon: Giving thanks at our COVID-19 Thanksgiving

3 Responses

  1. Brewster and Ziiccarelli race is interesting. Votes submitted on time should be uncounted due to a technicality. This is not democracy. Win an election but uncounting votes is not a road we as a Commonwealth should travel. And it makes the additional point. If you win by a vote or a 10,000 you still win!

  • Does the NYC Verdict Make You More or Less Likely to Vote For Trump in 2024?

    • Less Likely (36%)
    • More Likely (34%)
    • Makes No Difference (30%)

    Total Voters: 112

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