Demography As Destiny? How Pittsburgh Fared In The 2018 Midterm Elections

Nov 7, 2018

High voter turnout, a record number of female candidates and vastly different messaging between the two major parties loomed large over Tuesday's midterm contests. 

New Life Community Church hours before polls closed Tuesday in Bellevue, PA
Credit Kiley Koscinski / WESA

Incumbent Gov. Tom Wolf handily defeated his Republican challenger Scott Wagner, and Pennsylvania is sending a record four female candidates to the state legislature. Conor Lamb narrowly defeated Keith Rothfus in the nation's only race between two incumbents. That result paralleled enough congressional races across the country to give Democrats control of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time since 2008.

But despite a few historic gains for Democrats, Republicans remain in control in Harrisburg and the U.S. Senate.

How did huge gains in youth registration affect the turnout? Did Pennsylvania's newly redrawn  congressional districts give either party the edge? And how will state and local lawmakers square with a continued partisan divide in the Capitol?  

A panel of reporters and experts joined The Confluence to explain: 

  •  Chris Potter, government and accountability editor at 90.5 WESA
  • Mike Wereschagin, investigative reporter for The Caucus
  • Dana Brown, executive director at Chatham University's Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics 
  • Holly Otterbein, reporter for Philadelphia Inquirer and Philly.com
  • Brentin Mock, staff writer for City Lab
  • Laura Olson, D.C. correspondent for the Allentown Morning Call

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.