Politics & Government

We cover politics and government with an eye to providing to voters clear, in-depth, nonpartisan information. 

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

A divided Supreme Court ruled Monday that businesses can prohibit their workers from banding together in disputes over pay and conditions in the workplace, a decision that affects an estimated 25 million non-unionized employees nationwide.

Matt Rourke / AP

With the state House and Senate both back in Harrisburg, lawmakers are turning their attention to a number of gun control and school safety bills.

The effort comes in the wake of a Texas school shooting that killed ten last week—the nation’s largest since the Florida shooting that killed seventeen in February.

When House lawmakers finish up a series of public hearings on gun control, House GOP Spokesman Steve Miskin said a number of stalled bills will start moving—likely in the “first week or two in June.”

Not All GOP Candidates Want Trump To Stump

May 21, 2018
Evan Vucci / AP

He is the Republican Party's most powerful political weapon. Yet as the GOP fights to defend its delicate House and Senate majorities, President Donald Trump is not welcome everywhere.

AP

State House Republicans are increasing Representative Nick Miccarelli's punishment after deciding his actions constitute retaliation against two women who accused him of physical and sexual abuse--fellow GOP representative Tarah Toohil and another woman who has remained anonymous.

However, they're not moving to expel Miccarelli.

And meanwhile, in a memo detailing the latest sanctions, House GOP leaders included a pointed message to the Democrats in the chamber.

Rep. Barletta Faces Skeptics In PA Senate Race

May 20, 2018
Susan Walsh / AP

Long before he got into politics, Lou Barletta was an aspiring professional baseball player who, he says, flunked a tryout with Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds because he couldn't hit a curveball.

Now that he's challenging two-term Democratic Sen. Bob Casey in the fall election, Barletta will need to hit a lot of curveballs, politically speaking.

Official Congressional Portrait

On Friday Congressman Keith Rothfus, a conservative Republican from Sewickley, joined Democrats in voting down a farm bill that would have imposed new limits on food benefits.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Kerry Cannon, 31, of Bethel Park, works the salad bar at an Eat n' Park restaurant, a job she said she enjoys. She has Down syndrome, and said she has a good life. 

YouTube

The race for governor is only a few days in, but the negative ads are already starting.

Only minutes after Scott Wagner clinched the Republican nomination for governor, the Wolf campaign sent out a press release calling the York County Senator “the worst of Harrisburg.”

They also released an ad deriding Wagner as a bully, and included footage of various speeches in which he used violent-sounding metaphors.

Election Hacking Puts Focus On Paperless Voting Machines

May 17, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

As the midterm congressional primaries heat up amid fears of Russian hacking, an estimated 1 in 5 Americans will be casting their ballots on machines that do not produce a paper record of their votes.

Governor Tom Wolf / Twitter

Lt. Gov. Mike Stack lost his bid for the same office in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, marking the first time in the nearly 50 years since the office has required reelection that an incumbent has fallen short.

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman beat four other Philadelphia-area Democrats, including Stack. 

Bibiana Boerio for Congress / YouTube

Republicans got most of the attention in Tuesday’s primary in the 14th Congressional District, where state Senator Guy Reschenthaler scored an 11-point victory over state Representative Rick Saccone. But Democrat Bibiana Boerio of Unity Township won by an even larger margin – 19 points – in a primary that featured a total of four candidates.

 

Democratic Socialists of America / Facebook

There's a word repeated over and over again Tuesday night at the election parties for candidates Summer Lee and Sara Innamorato

"People," Lee said. "We brought people out."

Women Win U.S. House Primaries, GOP Makes Picks For Gov, Senate

May 16, 2018
Matt Slocum / AP

Pennsylvania Republicans picked a tough-talking state senator and a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump to be their party's nominees for governor and U.S. Senate, as a big splash in U.S. House primaries made it more likely that women will break the all-male hold on Pennsylvania's congressional delegation.

scanlonforcongress.com

Mary Gay Scanlon has won a 10-way Democratic primary in a southeastern Pennsylvania congressional district that's likely to flip to the Democrats following a court-ordered redrawing of the state's political maps.

She will face Republican Pearl Kim in November's general election. The 5th Congressional District, which now leans Democratic, has an open seat following the resignation of Rep. Pat Meehan amid allegations he used taxpayer money to settle sexual harassment allegations by a former aide.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

First-time candidate Sara Innamorato declared victory over a five-term incumbent in the Democratic primary for House District 21.

PA Senate

State Senator Guy Reschenthaler avenged a loss last fall to state Rep. Rick Saccone, handily winning his party's nomination in the newly drawn 14th Congressional District by a margin of over 10 percent.

 

"We have all won tonight," Reschenthaler told supporters at a VFW hall in Peters Township."You were with me from the beginning to the end, and I'm going to be with you well into the future."

Lucy Perkins / 90.5 WESA

John Fetterman solidly beat our four other Democratic candidates in the primary for lieutenant governor, including the incumbent, Mike Stack.

When the race was called, Fetterman had nearly 40 percent of the votes. Fellow Democrat Nina Ahmad was the closest behind him with roughly 22 percent of the vote.

He will face the Republican candidate Jeff Bartos in November.

After pointing out that his kids were up way past their bedtime, he thanked all his supporters who came to his watch party at Superior Motors in Braddock.

Matt Rourke / AP

Republican Scott Wagner will face off against Gov. Tom Wolf this fall for the top office in Harrisburg.

Trump Supporter Barletta Wins GOP Nod To Take On Sen. Casey

May 15, 2018
Susan Walsh / AP

Four-term U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump who first got national notice as a small-city mayor for his attempted crackdown on illegal immigration, on Tuesday won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania.

Barletta had paid little attention to his Republican rival, state Rep. Jim Christiana, during the primary campaign. Instead, he focused his attacks on the candidate he hopes to unseat in the fall, two-term Democratic Sen. Bob Casey.

Summer Lee for PA

Summer Lee of Swissvale has won the Democratic primary as a newcomer to the 34th State House District in a wide victory against incumbent Paul Costa.

 

It’s a win for local progressives who have set their sights on unseating Democrats they say have become listless from multiple terms in office.

 

Joseph Kaczmarek / AP

Days before Pennsylvania’s primary election, about 25 Democrats gathered for a meeting a few blocks away from the border of two recently reshaped congressional districts in North Philadelphia.

On a table with campaign literature, flyers that said, “re-elect Congressman Dwight Evans” were neatly tucked away and replaced with others that support Congressman Brendan Boyle.

Evan Vucci / AP

Today’s primary ballot allows voters to pick their champions in races for governor and U.S. Senator on down. But University of Pittsburgh political science professor Kristin Kanthak argues what’s at stake this year isn’t just the identities of the candidates–but of the parties themselves.

Niven Sabherwal / 90.5 WESA

The Allegheny River borough of Millvale is arguably at the epicenter of Tuesday’s primary elections. But as of lunchtime, it was kind of hard to tell.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Republican and Democratic voters are heading to the polls today to select their champions for November's general election, and Mark Wolosik, who heads Allegheny County's elections department, is expecting light turnout for today's primary. 

"We're predicting about 20 percent on both sides -- 20 percent Democratic and 20 percent Republican registered voters," he says.

Voters Cast Ballots In Pennsylvania's New Congressional Districts

May 15, 2018
Susan Walsh / AP

Tuesday's primary elections will begin to settle swing state Pennsylvania's chaotic congressional landscape after a court fight ended with redrawn districts just three months ago.

Pennsylvania primary voters will also decide the fate of President Donald Trump's pick for U.S. Senate. Idaho voters are set to pick their Republican gubernatorial nominee, while heavily Republican Nebraska and Democratic-leaning Oregon are also holding primaries Tuesday.

A look at some of the key races:

PENNSYLVANIA SCRAMBLE

Live Blog: Primary Day 2018

May 15, 2018
90.5 WESA

Check in throughout the day for 90.5 WESA's continuous coverage of the Primary Election. 

90.5 WESA

May 15, the day campaigns have had circled on their calendars for months, is finally here. On Tuesday, Pennsylvanians will head to the polls and vote. If you don't know where to vote, or who you can vote for, here's what you need to know.

Matt Rourke / AP

Of all the crowded races in Tuesday's primary election, perhaps none is odder than the one for lieutenant governor.

Usually, a sitting LG is in a pretty safe spot once primaries roll around.

But no less than four Democratic challengers are giving incumbent Mike Stack a run for his money.

For Stack, a former Democratic Senator from Philadelphia, the trouble seemed to really start with a press conference.

Primary Will Help Set Stage For Next Crop Of State Lawmakers

May 14, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

This year's legislative races in Pennsylvania have drawn extremely high levels of interest, with reports of activists swamping normally quiet organizational meetings and an unusually large number of candidates making it onto the ballot.

On Primary Day, Both Parties Agree New Congressional Map May Cause Confusion

May 14, 2018
Joseph Kaczmarek

Days before Pennsylvania’s primary election, about 25 Democrats gathered for a meeting a few blocks away from the border of two recently reshaped congressional districts in North Philadelphia.

On a table with campaign literature, flyers that said, “re-elect Congressman Dwight Evans” were neatly tucked away and replaced with others that support Congressman Brendan Boyle.

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