Politics & Government

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

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.

Pennsylvania's Sleepy Senate Race Could Still Play Key Role

May 13, 2018
Carolyn Kaster / AP

Pennsylvania's thus-far sleepy U.S. Senate race this year could nonetheless play a key role in determining whether Republicans hang onto control of the chamber.

Lucy Perkins / WESA

U.S. Senator Bob Casey met with parents and community leaders in the Brighton Heights neighborhood on Friday, to talk about affordable childcare.

Courtesy of Lindsey Williams for PA, Friends of Stephanie Walsh, Friends of Jeremy Shaffer, and Friends of Randy Vulakovich

One of the most competitive local races in Tuesday's primary is for state Senate in the 38th District, which includes North Hills suburbs, Allegheny River communities and some Pittsburgh East End neighborhoods.

Republican incumbent Randy Vulakovich, of Shaler, is facing a spirited challenge from Ross Township Commissioner Jeremy Shaffer, also a Republican.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Call it a tale of two Costas.

In campaign-season mailers being sent to Democratic voters in the 21st state House district, state Rep. Dom Costa boasts of his success at “Moving Pittsburgh Forward.” 

Matt Rourke / AP

With less than a week before the primary elections, GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner is voicing his support for a restrictive abortion bill.

The stance is in line with a recurring theme in the race—the York County Senator’s apparent battle with rival Paul Mango over who is farther right politically.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council is rewriting a proposal to reform the troubled Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.

An Allegheny County Democrat is once again seeking to become the face of the state Democratic Party: Nancy Patton Mills, who chairs the county’s committee, is officially declaring her candidacy for party chair when state officials gather in Harrisburg in mid-June.

“I think it’s time for the PA Democratic Committee to come into this century,” Mills says. “[We] are the party of the people now,” with a more diverse make-up.

Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

It's a Tuesday evening in early May, and an elaborately-decorated lobby in Malvern is swarming with Republicans.

A number are state officials, or officers for the Pennsylvania GOP. Many more are members of the Chester County Republican Party--the group behind this particular dinner.

But the keynote speaker, and the name on most of the signs, banners, and lapel buttons, is a guy who still describes himself as a political outsider, even after four years in the state Senate.

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