Now that the votes have been counted, it is possible to offer a brief analysis of the 2017 Pennsylvania General Election. As I have noted previously, the vote totals published by the state and county election officials across the Commonwealth immediately after the election do not include absentee and provisional ballots, which can often change the outcome of a close contest, which there often are in statewide Pennsylvania elections. The professional media lack authority to “declare” election winners and even concessions by losing candidates are not legally determinative.
Statewide, a Republican, who had been appointed to the state Supreme Court to fill a vacancy, was elected to
highest court, where Democrats hold a majority.
Democrats carried three of the four Superior Court seats in a close race,
while the two parties each split the two seats on the Commonwealth Court. Therefore, Democrats won a majority of the
seven seats Republicans, but the GOP was victorious in the most important
Although Republicans were competitive in the statewide judicial races, Donald Trump was a factor in the
Pennsylvania election, as was
apparent in Virginia and other American States,
even in local races in the . The Trump effect was especially noticeable in
suburbs, where the election was viewed particularly as a referendum on the
party of Trump. Democrats there were
motivated to turn out to vote and to vote against Republican candidates in southeast
Pennsylvania, as elsewhere across the Union, which led to historic Democratic gains in county
and municipal elections.
The constitutional referendum to allow counties, municipalities and school districts to reduce real estate taxes for home owners was approved. The amendment gives those taxing bodies the option of exempting up to 100% of the median value of a primary residence from real estate taxation. Commercial properties would remain subject to real estate taxes. It is uncertain how counties, municipalities and school districts would replace the lost revenue.
The referendum boosted turnout significantly in
where I reside, which is a hotbed of anti-real estate tax efforts, which, in turn,
helped local Republican candidates. The
referendum likely helped offset somewhat the anti-Trump vote statewide. The absence of an equivalent to boost conservative turnout in the more ideological federal and state elections in 2018 will likely make it even harder for Republicans to be elected who do not break clearly with Trumpism. Berks County