Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pennsylvania Proves the Key State for the GOP

Pennsylvanians voted for Republicans in the 2010 Elections, shifting the Commonwealth toward the GOP in both federal and state offices more than any other state in the Union.

After being dominated by Republicans from the 1990s to the 2000s, by 2009, the Democrats in Pennsylvania held the office of the governor, two of the three statewide row offices, and the state House, as well as both United States Senate seats (because of Arlen Specter’s return to the Democratic Party) and a 12-7 majority in the state’s U.S. House delegation. The 2010 Elections have resulted in a dramatic shift to the Republicans.

Republicans won the office of Pennsylvania governor for the first time in eight years and a majority of the seats in the state House of Representatives for the first time in four years, while Republicans maintained their large majority in the state Senate. Pennsylvania voters elected a Republican to the United States Senate while Republicans also wrested five U.S. House seats from the Democrats (which tied with New York and Ohio for the most Republican pickups from one state), giving them a 12-7 majority in the state’s U.S. House delegation.

Overspending, political reform and the right to life were the main issues in Pennsylvania. Some of these issues converged particularly in Pennsylvania, as a number of self-described “pro-life” Democratic incumbent U.S. Representatives were defeated after voting for the federalization of health insurance, which included funding for abortion, despite President Barak Obama’s promises to the contrary. Four incumbent Democrats lost reelection to the U.S. House, making a total of five incumbent Congressmen in 2010, including Specter, who lost the Democratic Primary Election. Republicans, led by former U.S. Representative Pat Toomey at the top of the ticket for Senate, ran on unabashedly conservative platforms in a state where Republicans are infamous for being moderate (typified by Specter before his return to the Democrats).

As a harbinger of gains for the GOP, Republicans won six of the seven statewide judicial offices in the 2009 off-year elections, thereby winning a majority on the state Supreme Court, just as the Republican victories in the New Jersey and Virginia gubernatorial races that year and the special election to the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts in early 2010 were signs of a Republican resurgence across the Union.

The Republican Governors of New Jersey and Virginia, Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie, respectively, both former prosecutors, are the role models of Pennsylvania Attorney General Thomas Corbett, who was the successful Republican candidate for governor of the Commonwealth. Both Governors are known for reducing spending while resisting any tax increases. Pennsylvanians appreciated Corbett’s role in prosecuting corrupt legislators in both political parties. Once he is inaugurated, he will appoint his successor as Attorney General. Pennsylvanians also rewarded former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan, who successfully prosecuted a leading state Senate Democrat, with election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The control of the office of governor and both chambers of the General Assembly allows the GOP the opportunity to redraw Congressional districts after reapportionment following the publication next year of the results of the 2010 Census. Pennsylvania is expected to lose at least one seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. The 2010 Elections in Pennsylvania also provide the opportunity to restore fiscal responsibility to the Commonwealth and reform state government.

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