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PoliticsPA: 2021 General Election Results Playbook

Republicans score big victories in the statewide judicial races, progressives notch wins in several Pa. cities, and a variety of other county and local races yield mixed results. Here is the Playbook. 


Supreme Court: Republican Kevin Brobson defeated Democrat Maria McLaughlin to serve on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, according to the Associated Press. Brobson leads McLaughlin by 5 points as of Wednesday morning, according to unofficial results from the Department of State

Superior Court: Republican Megan Sullivan defeated Democrat Timika Lane for a seat on the Pennsylvania Superior Court, according to the Associated Press. Sullivan leads Lane by 11 points as of Wednesday morning, according to unofficial results from the Department of State.

Commonwealth Court: Republican Stacy Wallace won a seat on the Commonwealth Court, according to Spotlight PA. Republican Drew Crompton leads Democrats Lori Dumas and David Spurgeon for the second seat as of Wednesday morning.  

Special Elections: Democratic HOLDS in HD-113 & HD-164: PennLive reports that Democrats Thom Welby and Gina Curry won special elections for the state House’s 113th and 164th Districts, keeping the seats in Democratic control. 

State House Vacancies: Vacancies and special elections are coming. Rep. Ed Gainey (D-Allegheny) will become Mayor of Pittsburgh while Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny) is expected to join his administration. Meanwhile Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) won her race for Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas.  

Mayoral Race Results

Allentown Mayor: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “with a sizeable lead Tuesday night, Democrat Matt Tuerk declared victory over Republican Tim Ramos in the Allentown mayoral election.”

Bethlehem Mayor: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “on his second try for mayor, J. William Reynolds defeated Republican challenger John Kachmar, according to unofficial results out of Lehigh and Northampton counties.”

Harrisburg Mayor: PennLive reports that Democrat Wanda Williams “has successfully beat back incumbent Mayor Eric Papenfuse’s off-ballot bid for a third term.” 

Pittsburgh Mayor: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Democratic state Rep. Ed Gainey has defeated Republican Tony Moreno in the race for Pittsburgh mayor. 

Scranton Mayor: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti won a full four-year term Tuesday, easily defeating Republican challenger and first-time candidate Darwin Lee Shaw II by a more than 3-1 margin.”

County Race Results

Erie County Executive: The Erie Times-News reports that Republican Brentown Davis has declared victory and is “poised to be the next Erie County executive” by defeating Democrat Tyler Titus, although Titus has not conceded yet. Davis leads by more than 4,500 votes, while about 4,300 mail votes remain to be counted Wednesday, plus an unknown vote total from two voting precincts. 

Lehigh County Executive: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “Democratic incumbent Phillips Armstrong defeated Republican challenger Glenn Eckhart in the race for Lehigh County executive, according to unofficial results.”

Northampton County Executive: WFMZ reports that “incumbent Democrat Lamont McClure will keep his seat as Northampton County executive, after beating out Republican Steve Lynch.”

Bucks County District Attorney: Levittown Now reports that Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub, a Republican, defeated Democrat Antonetta Stancu.

Bucks County Sheriff: The Bucks County Courier Times reported early Wednesday morning that Republican Fred Harran “held a wide lead” over Democrat Mark Lomax for Bucks County sheriff.  

Erie County Sheriff: Erie News Now reported early Wednesday morning that Democrat Chris Campanelli “declared victory” and has a “solid lead” over Republican Brian Shank. 

Philadelphia District Attorney: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner “a champion of shaking up the criminal justice system, easily turned away a Republican challenge” from Chuck Peruto to win a second term. 

Westmoreland County District Attorney: WTAE reports that Republican Nicole Ziccarelli defeated “long-time” Democratic district attorney John Peck. 

More Results & Headlines

‘Philly’s David L. Cohen confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Canada’: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that “former Comcast executive David L. Cohen was confirmed Tuesday night as U.S. ambassador to Canada, making him the face of the Biden administration with one of America’s most significant allies.”

‘Rick Santorum hired by Newsmax following CNN ouster’: The Hill reports that former Senator Rick Santorum “has been hired by conservative news network Newsmax, six months after he and CNN parted ways following offensive comments the former lawmaker made about Native Americans during a speech earlier this year.”

‘Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf incentivizes state workers to get vaccinated’: KDKA Radio reports that “Gov. Wolf explains his offer to vaxxed state employees and more.”

‘Democrats sweep Allegheny County Council races, growing their majority by one seat’: WESA reports that “Democrats won all three contested races for Allegheny County Council in Tuesday’s election, meaning their party has gained a new seat on the 15-member body, for a total of 13.”

‘Progressives appear poised for big wins in county judicial races’: WESA reports that “in an outcome that could well transform the practice of justice in Allegheny County, four Black candidates — including three women who ran on a slate dedicated to judicial reform — appear to be among the top vote-getters in a race for 10 seats on the Common Pleas bench.”

‘Allentown voters appear to reject push to remove English as the city’s official language’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “as of late Tuesday evening, unofficial results showed that Allentown voters appear to have opted to keep English as the city’s official language in a referendum vote.”

‘Republicans take control of Northampton County Council, ousting two Democratic incumbents’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “Republicans will hold a 5-4 edge on Northampton County Council after three GOP newcomers won five seats on the ballot Tuesday, according to unofficial results.”

‘Democrats defeat lone Republican in race for Allentown City Council seats’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “three incumbents and a Democratic challenger defeated the lone Republican in the race for four Allentown City Council seats, according to unofficial election results late Tuesday.”

‘Republicans sweep 6-way race for Lehigh County judge seats’: The Allentown Morning Call reports that “Republicans Tom Caffrey, Tom Capehart and David Ritter have won the six-way race for three seats on Lehigh County Court, according to unofficial election results late Tuesday.”

‘Election roundup: Red wave sweeps Luzerne County’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “what is abundantly clear is that it was a very good Election Day for the GOP in Luzerne County.”

‘Salavantis, Toohil poised to win Luzerne County judge seats’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “former Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis easily won her bid to become a judge in the Court of Common Pleas, but the race for the second seat turned out to be a close battle. According to unofficial results, with 180 of 186 precincts reporting, State Rep. Tarah Toohil appeared to have defeated Magisterial District Judge Alexandra Kokura Kravitz.”

‘Griffith will be controller once again’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “Republican Walter Griffith will be Luzerne County controller once again because he unseated incumbent Democrat Michelle Bednar, according to unofficial general election results.”

‘GOP carries Luzerne County Council contest’: The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader reports that “in a major sweep, Luzerne County voters filled all five vacant county seats with Republicans, according to unofficial general election results.”

‘Lackawanna County incumbent row officers win reelection’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “the incumbent Lackawanna County sheriff and register of wills/clerk of the orphans’ court, both Democrats, handily defeated Republican challengers in Tuesday’s general election to each win a third four-year term, according to unofficial results.”

‘Republicans sweep 3 Lancaster County government row office races’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Lancaster County Republicans easily maintained their dominance of county government Tuesday, winning all three open row office races by double-digit margins.”

‘Republicans sweep in Manheim Township commissioner’s race to regain control of the board’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Republicans will regain control of the county’s second-largest municipality, pulling off what GOP leaders called a “must-win” in fast-growing Manheim Township.”

‘Democrats claim victory in Lancaster city races for mayor and city council’: LNP | LancasterOnline reports that “Democrats in Lancaster city took the night in city council and mayoral contests, easily sweeping away third party and Republican challengers and maintaining their full lock on city government.”

‘Tyson leads Perugini in Reading City Council race’: WFMZ reports that “with all 7 of the precincts in Reading’s 1st council district reporting their in-person vote tallies, Democrat Brianna Tyson, a political newcomer, held a 61%-39% lead over Republican Louis Perugini, a veteran of various campaigns.”

‘Reading voters say ‘yes’ to charter questions on ballot’: WFMZ reports that “Reading voters who went to the polls Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a pair of ballot questions concerning the city’s home rule charter.”

‘Voters overwhelmingly reject government study commission’: The Observer-Reporter reports that “voters in Washington County overwhelmingly rejected a government study commission that would have reviewed the county’s form of government and possibly overhauled it.”

‘Janakovic keeps seat as Johnstown mayor’: The Johnstown Tribune-Democrat reports that “Frank Janakovic has been elected to a third term as Johnstown’s mayor.”

‘Dempsey defeats Arora for Lackawanna County judgeship’: The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that “attorney Mary Walsh Dempsey will be Lackawanna County’s new judge.”

‘State legislation targets tax credits for first responders’: The Williamsport Sun-Gazette reports that “a bill authorizing school districts to offer tax credits to active volunteer first responders recently passed by unanimous vote in the state House. State Rep. Clint Owlett, R-Wellsboro, chief sponsor of the bill, said the legislation will help in the recruitment and retention of EMS and firefighters.”

McSwain to Host Western PA Fundraiser: Bill McSwain, former U.S. Attorney during the Trump administration and candidate for Governor, is hosting a fundraiser in Pittsburgh on Wednesday evening. Allegheny County Chairman Sam DeMarco, former U.S. Attorney Scott Brady, and former PA GOP Chairman Rob Gleason are listed on the host committee invitation for the event.

5 Responses

  1. The fact that you all couldn’t pull together and get some articles out for the 2021 election is telling. This thing is cooked.

  2. So, in essence, trends across the state continue to harden into patterns. Dems either win or are competitive in cities and larger metro areas, while Republicans continue to turn ancestral Dem areas red and rack up big margins everywhere else.

    One big warning sign for Dems, though. The statewide registration gap between Rs and Ds continues to narrow, and Republicans have been much better at winning off-year and other statewide down-ballot races lately. The margins for the judicial races this year were bigger than most would have probably expected.

    If Dems don’t turn out in the metro areas they are competitive in, they don’t really have a cushion to make it up elsewhere anymore.

    1. I appreciate your point of view. The one thing all of us need to understand is that each election has its own lifespan and issues. In other words, don’t read much into it. Times are ever changing. This is the bottom line. Dems need to really get the vote out. Because for whatever reason once Roosevelt Dem counties have gone red. I think part of it goes back to Nixon’s silent majority. The MSNBC crowd tends to talk down to centrist voters driving them into the red camp.

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