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Historic spending in Pa.'s U.S. Senate campaign may not translate to votes

Lucy Perkins
90.5 WESA

On today’s episode of The Confluence: 

Millions are being spent in statewide races for U.S. Senate and governor
(0:00 - 9:13)

Voters in Pennsylvania are deciding today whether to flip a U.S. Senate seat from Republican to Democrat as they choose a replacement for Pat Toomey, who opted not to seek reelection. This race could determine which party controls the Senate, and as a result, it’s the most expensive Senate race in the nation.

Democrat John Fetterman has outpaced Republican Mehmet Oz in fundraising, and in particular, the number of small-dollar donations.

“It shows the brand, if you will, resonates with a pretty wide audience,” says Chris Borick, professor of political science at Muhlenberg College, and director of the college’s Institute of Public Opinion.

Despite the support, however, Borick says donations don’t always equate to votes, and raising more money than an opponent doesn’t guarantee a win.

Tuesday’s election could come down to key swing counties
(9:23 - 15:47)

Nearly 8.9 million Pennsylvanias are eligible to vote. A little more than 4 million are registered as Democrats and nearly 3.5 million are registered as Republicans.

Nick Field, a correspondent with Decision Desk HQ and the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, says despite the lead in voters affiliated with Democrats, the party may be losing ground in Pennsylvania.

“There are a lot of ancestral Democrats in western Pennsylvania, specifically, that are always jumping over to the Republican Party,” say Field. “For instance, in October 2020, Democrats had a voter registration advantage of about 700,000. And then by October 2021, it was about 605,000. And today it stands at about 549,000.”

Field says he’ll be watching swing counties like Erie, North Hampton, Lehigh, and the collar counties around Philadelphia to see how voters turn out today.

Pittsburgh Film Office says production want to come to the city, but the state has run out of tax credits
(15:53 - 22:30)

As the city turns colder, filming for movies and shows is beginning to slow down, but not necessarily due to the weather.

“It's because we're out of film tax credits already,” says Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office. “This program is oversubscribed and underfunded even at $100 million per year… People want to be here. So once the tax credits start to dry up, you don't see the work coming.”

Keezer says the second season of “American Rust” is the last production planned for 2022 in the region. But other projects shot and based in the city are still available on streaming services.

Last Friday, “Dear Zoe,” a film set and filmed in Pittsburgh and featuring Sadie Sink from “Stranger Things,” premiered. Also available are the shows “Mayor of Kingstown,” “A League of Their Own,” and “Sprung.”

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in Monday to Thursday at 9 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here or wherever you get your podcasts. 

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