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This Week in PA Politics 11/3

McCaffery steps down amidst lewd email scandal. In what has been described as Seamus McCaffery’s “retirement,” the state Supreme Court Justice effectively stepped down from his position without fighting his case, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports. McCaffery claimed that the state chief justice was “out to get him” earlier last month. As McCaffery leaves, questions still remain about inter-court social dynamics.  

No ostensible progress made in Supreme Court nominations. Now that Justice Seamus McCaffery has stepped down from his position on the state Supreme Court, there are two seats that need to be filled by the end of the year. However, there is no indication that PA Gov. Corbett is prepared to nominate any new justices, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports. The other open seat is currently held by Chief Justice Ron Castille, who has reached the mandatory retirement age and will step down in January.

Bill Clinton rallies for Wolf in Pittsburgh. In order to build enthusiasm for Election Day, former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited Pittsburgh’s South Side to campaign for PA gubernatorial Democratic candidate Tom Wolf, 90.5 WESA’s Erika Beras reports. U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald also spoke at the event.

Voter turnout is expected to be low on Tuesday. Bill Clinton made an appearance at Tom Wolf’s rally last Monday, and President Barack Obama made a trip to Philadelphia on Sunday in support of the Democratic gubernatorial candidate. State Republicans see the celebrity cameos as political posturing to bring out Democratic voters, but Republicans are also dealing with the specter of low voter turnout, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports. Low voter turnout is clear as both parties have seen a drop in absentee ballot requests compared to the 2010 midterms.

Latest poll has Corbett making gains. Tomorrow is Election Day, and according to the latest poll by Franklin and Marshall, Gov. Tom Corbett has made impressive gains. However, he still trails Democrat Tom Wolf by a large margin, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports. The Governor trails by double digits in the polls and his approval rating still sags below his second-term-hopeful predecessors.

For Corbett, Re-Election Campaign Has Been An Uphill Battle. In an informative feature, 90.5 WESA’s Mark Nootbaar and Mary Wilson write that Gov. Tom Corbett’s re-election bid has been an uphill battle from the start. In 2010 he ran on a campaign that touted fiscal conservatism and holding that line was bound to anger many voters – especially those who saw his lack of attention shown to further funding education as particularly draconian. Moreover, many Republican-led policy initiatives never came to fruition under his administration.

Questions abound about what a Wolf administration would look like. Tom Wolf has a healthy lead in the polls heading into Election Day. But both Democrats and Republicans have questions about what Wolf will do if he is to win the election, 90.5 WESA’s Mark Nootbaar and Mary Wilson report. Many Republicans are attracted to Wolf’s private-sector business experience, but they chafe at his support of public pensions and unions. Democrats like his policy ideas but wonder if a GOP-dominated legislature will stop his initiatives.

Despite a growing number of registered Republicans, the 8th district looks primed to re-elect Fitzpatrick.  Bucks and Montgomery Counties, located in the eastern part of the state, have undergone a demographic change that gives the Democrats a roughly 12,000 voter advantage over the Republicans. However, the district still leans to the right, meaning Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick should win his re-election bid, Aaron Moselle of WHYY Newsworks reports. Despite a strong campaign effort, Democrat Kevin Strouse is unlikely to overcome midterm voter apathy, Moselle writes.

Independent voters are on the rise in Pennsylvania. Largely viewed as a result of the widespread voter dissatisfaction with established political parties, the amount of Independent voters has reached as high as 13 percent, 90.5 WESA’s Mary Wilson reports. With so many registered Independents, many are questioning Pennsylvania’s partisan-dominated primary election rules.

The races to watch. PoliticsPA’s Nick Field has constructed a list of the state House and the state Senate races to follow tomorrow night. 

How will different parts of Pennsylvania vote? Writing for PoliticsPA, Dr. G. Terry Madonna and Michael L. Young break down different regions throughout Pennsylvania and predict how these populations will vote on Election Day

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