Dear PAOLMA Members,
The results from Pennsylvania’s General Election voting are incomplete.
Two factors contribute to what may be a three-day wait for final results in all elections in Pennsylvania.
Since the 2018 election the General Assembly and Governor Tom Wolf enacted law that allowed for mail-in voting, drop-box voting and the prohibition of straight ticket voting. In mid-September the Democratic-controlled Supreme Court issued an Order based on a suit filed by the Republican party in Pennsylvania. The complaint sought to have all ballots in Pennsylvania, of whatever type, counted by the conclusion of Election Day, 2020. The Supreme Court held that ballots arriving after Election Day, November 3, 2020, could still be counted as long as they are either postmarked by November 3rd or it is proven that they were not sent after November 3rd. Ballots must be received by November 6, 2020 at 5:00 PM. The US Supreme Court decided not to hear two cases filed in late October by the Pennsylvania GOP so the state Supreme Court Order stands.
As a result, many county courthouses in Pennsylvania have not fully completed the counting of ballots. Only 46% of ballots have been counted in Philadelphia City/County. About the same in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh). Counting was suspended last night in those locales and continues at 9:00 AM this morning. Because the Court did not mandate the counting of mail-in and drop ballots prior to election day as ballots came into the courthouses, these larger jurisdictions have piles of uncounted ballots in their possession this morning.
President Trump leads former Vice President Biden statewide by about 675,000 votes—but with many uncounted ballots in Allegheny County and Philadelphia County (and the Democratic-vote rich ring counties of Southeast PA) this margin will shrink and may disappear completely. Statewide, 57% of the total vote has been reported.
Congressional races are still undecided although it appears that Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-1) is holding a comfortable lead and that suburban Philadelphia district is carrying Republican at the top of the ticket and down ballot as well.
Conservative Congressman Scott Perry (PA-10) appears to have held off the challenge of PA Auditor General, Democrat Eugene Depasquale in that central PA seat..
Democrat “Wunderkind” Conor Lamb (PA-17) is in a close tussle in his suburban Pittsburgh seat where President Trump is faring very well. With so many ballots still uncounted in Allegheny County it is foolhardy to predict this race at this time—but this will be a close vote at the end. Republican Sean Parnell has been a formidable opponent.
Pennsylvania’s 50 Member State Senate is currently in Republican Majority (28-21-1). Republicans were worried about losing control of the majority there, but this morning they appear to have picked up one or two western PA Democrat seats while only losing one suburban Philadelphia seat. A final majority for Republicans in the State Senate might be (30-19-1) or (31-18-1). The Republicans will hold a comfortable majority in the State Senate in the 2012-2022 legislative session.
The State House is currently in Republican majority at 110-93. Pre-election predictions had Republicans losing seats and, perhaps, the majority for the coming session. It now appears that a comfortable Republican majority will hold in the State House for the 2021-2022 legislative session. Incumbent western PA Democrat House members are fighting for their lives to remain in office as the “red wave” is now beginning to consume Pennsylvania west of the Susquehanna River. However, Republican House members in the Philadelphia suburbs still have to wait for the results of tens of thousands of uncounted ballots, and are predicted to lose some of their seats. It is just too early to know the final numerical make-up of the House of Representatives for next session although it is pretty clear that the Republicans will be in charge.
PA Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D), Democrat State Treasurer Joe Torsella, and the Democrat (Philadelphia-based) candidate for State Auditor General in that open seat race, are all trailing their Republican opponents. All three Democrats live in the Democratic-rich registered counties of Philadelphia and suburban Philadelphia. Shapiro is the prohibitive Democrat favorite to be the party’s 2022 nominee for Governor in PA. Torsella is also considering a run for Governor or the US Senate in 2022 on the Democrat ticket. Current results would derail some pretty significant political careers. BUT with less than half of Philadelphia’s ballots still uncounted and many uncounted ballots still in the ring counties surrounding the City, the complexion of these races is likely to change dramatically.
Bottom line: most of the Republican “red” counties in Pennsylvania have reported in their full vote counts for the 2020 General election. Many highly registered Democrat counties have as many as half their ballots still uncounted and unreported. Courthouses have until Friday at 5:00 PM to finalize those counts.
Please look for an update from me on the 2020 election results from Pennsylvania in the coming hours!