Politics & Government

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

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone each could see a primary contest in new congressional districts after they battled for an existing district in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Michael Rubinkam / AP

Lawyers for state Representative Tarah Toohil have released additional abuse allegations against a fellow GOP lawmaker--along with portions of a House investigation into the matter.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Democrat Conor Lamb is the apparent winner in the hotly contested special election to represent Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, and he did it by only a few hundred votes

Kailey Love / 90.5 WESA

A Pennsylvania official said no "legitimate claims or complaints" of voter fraud have come up since Tuesday's closely contested U.S. House race in the state, countering several false stories that cited invalid votes and a court decision throwing the election results out.

The website Daily World Update said in a story circulating on social media that a judge identified as Marshawn Little of the 45th Federal Appeals Court of Westmoreland County cancelled the results because they were "tainted beyond reproach."

Democrat’s Dilemma: An Energized Left V. Moderation

Mar 16, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Pennsylvania's Conor Lamb and Alabama Sen. Doug Jones, the new miracle men of the Democratic Party, offer a clear model for how to run in Republican territory: Focus on economics, not guns, immigration or President Donald Trump.

But that won't be easy when much of the party is whipped into a fervor over those topics.

Piotrus / Wikimedia Commons

The controversial Stephen Foster Memorial, which many have described as racist, is scheduled to be removed from Schenley Plaza in Oakland next month. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and his Task Force on Women in Public Art want to fill that vacated space with a statue honoring an African American Pittsburgh woman.

“Of all the sculptures and statues throughout the entire city of Pittsburgh, there is not one that recognizes an African-American woman, not one in the entire city,” Peduto said.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court and Google Maps

In the wake of Tuesday’s special election in the 18th Congressional District, attention has quickly turned to the district that could soon replace the 18th – the 14th District.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor faces a legal challenge over his residency that aims to derail his re-election campaign.

Michael Rubinkam / AP

Representative Tarah Toohil has alleged that fellow Republican Representative Nick Miccarelli threatened to kill her and otherwise abused her during and after a relationship in 2012.

Lawmaker's Protective Order Against Fellow Lawmaker Extended

Mar 15, 2018
Pennsylvania House of Representatives / legis.state.pa.gov

A Pennsylvania lawmaker who alleges a fellow lawmaker pulled a gun and threatened to kill her has been granted a three-year protective order against him.

*This story was updated at 12:58 p.m. on March 15, 2018. 

State Rep. Tarah Toohil alleges fellow Republican Rep. Nick Miccarelli was physically abusive during a relationship that ended several years ago. She also says he's been physically intimidating her at the Capitol this year.

District 18 Race Suggests Almost No GOP Candidate Is Safe

Mar 15, 2018
J. Scott Applewhite

The message to Republicans from the Pennsylvania special election was simple: Almost no one is safe.

Rattled Republicans were hit with a day-after reality check Wednesday after the startlingly strong performance of a fresh-faced Democrat deep in Trump country.

Allegheny County Elections Division

Short answer = highly unlikely.


Democrat Conor Lamb declared victory early Wednesday morning in the special election to represent Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, but Republican Rick Saccone hasn't conceded and the race is technically still too close to call.


So can Saccone make up Lamb's current 627-vote advantage?


Here’s the breakdown.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

Democrat Conor Lamb appears to have won the special election in Pennsylvania's 18th Congressional District, defeating Republican Rick Saccone in an upset for President Trump and congressional Republicans, based on a review of the vote by member station WESA and barring a recount.

Matt Rourke / AP

The state House has moved to change the commonwealth’s constitution and drastically reduce the size of the legislature.

However, there’s no guarantee voters will see the amendment on their ballots come election day.

Pennsylvania has the largest full-time legislature in the country—and for years, lawmakers have sought to change that.

Supporters of the proposal say cutting the number of representatives would make government more efficient—and probably save money.

And, bill sponsor Jerry Knowles noted, the ultimate decision will be up to voters. 

Gene J. Puskar / AP

As Tuesday's special election ran into the early hours of Wednesday morning, Democrat Conor Lamb declared victory — though the race remained too close to officially call and Republican Rick Saccone had not conceded.

Ryan Dickey / Flickr

A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation that could have parents footing the bill if their child bullies another kid at school.

State Rep. Frank Burns' bill gives parents three strikes. The first time a child bullies someone, the school is required to inform his or her parents how the school handled the situation. Parents would have to take a class on bullying and attend a bullying resolution conference the second time. The third time, parents would receive a court citation and pay up to a $500 fine.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives / legis.state.pa.gov

Abuse allegations against Delaware County Representative Nick Miccarelli have put state Capitol law enforcement in a somewhat unprecedented situation.

Two weeks ago, the Philadelphia Inquirer and L&P’s The Caucus reported that two women who dated Miccarelli accused him repeated abuse.

Late last week, one of those women went public.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Drawing national attention and serving as what many consider an early indicator for the 2018 midterm election cycle, all eyes are on Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone today, the candidates vying for a seat in the 18th Congressional District. 

#PA18 Live Blog: District 18 Special Election

Mar 13, 2018
Sarah Kovash/Keith Srakocic / 90.5 WESA/AP

Follow 90.5 WESA's live blog throughout the day for continuing coverage of the District 18 special election. 

PA House Election Hits Final Day Of Campaign In Close Race

Mar 12, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

The final day of campaigning Monday before votes are cast in Western Pennsylvania's closely watched congressional election drew a visit by Donald Trump Jr. and lots of door-knocking all over the southwestern district where polls show a close race.

PA Internet News Service

Governor Tom Wolf proposed an ethics reform package Monday that includes a complete gift ban for elected and new campaign finance laws that would strengthen money disclosure requirements for candidates.

Wolf is also proposing that if lawmakers don't pass a budget by the annual July 1 deadline, pay will be suspended for himself, lawmakers and their top aides. This deadline has been missed by state lawmakers the last three years.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's governor wants to ban gifts to all elected state officials and to suspend pay for himself, lawmakers and their top aides when they have not fully enacted a budget by the annual deadline.

Gov. Tom Wolf, a first-term Democrat seeking re-election, will outline a government reform proposal on Monday that also includes better campaign finance disclosure and a requirement that lawmakers provide receipts when seeking reimbursement for expenses.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court

A fraught redistricting battle in Pennsylvania has taken a small step forward.

A panel of three federal judges heard arguments Friday in a case over whether the commonwealth’s Supreme Court violated the federal constitution when it redrew congressional maps last month.

Both the plaintiffs and defendants acknowledged, the case doesn’t have any direct precedent.

Lawyers for two Republican state Senate leaders and eight GOP congressmen contended that the state court usurped the legislature’s power.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Voters head to the polls Tuesday in the special election to fill the empty seat in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District south of Pittsburgh.

Trump: Don't Fall For Democrat Lamb's Moderate Talk

Mar 10, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

President Donald Trump told western Pennsylvania voters Saturday night that his new tariffs were saving the steel industry and urged them to send a Republican to the House so he can keep delivering those kinds of results.

The president lent his weight to Republican Rick Saccone in the final days of a surprisingly competitive special election outside Pittsburgh that could reverberate nationally ahead of the November midterm elections.

Ahead Of Trump Visit, GOP Struggles With Campaign Basics

Mar 10, 2018
An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

There is no sign of Republican congressional candidate Rick Saccone on Sherwood Drive.

Just days before western Pennsylvania's special election, his campaign informed some residents that he may knock on doors that morning in this critical GOP stronghold. It's almost 11 a.m., and they're still waiting.

"He was supposed to stop by today," 68-year-old Republican John Debich says, scanning the empty streets of suburban Greensburg from his front porch. "It's the second time we've been avoided."

Pennsylvania Democrats See Surge Of Legislative Candidates

Mar 9, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Democrats hoping to claw their way out of a deep minority in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives got some good news this week when their candidates filed petitions to get on the ballot in 180 of the chamber's 203 districts.

The flood-the-zone strategy, inspired in part by a surprising showing for their party in Virginia in November, is designed to put more of the chamber in play and ramp up pressure on Republicans to defend their 121-82 majority.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Just days away from the March 13 special congressional election between Republican Rick Saccone (Elizabeth) and Democrat Conor Lamb (Mt. Lebanon), volunteers are knocking doors, calling voters and distributing campaign literature in an effort to get out the vote in the 18th District south of Pittsburgh.

Matt Rourke / AP

Republican state lawmakers wrapped up three weeks of annual budget hearings by tearing into Governor Tom Wolf’s administration for several hours straight.


The crime, as they see it?


Making what the GOP alleges is an unconstitutional deal to close this fiscal year’s budget deficit.


White House Gears Up Campaigning For District 18 Special Election

Mar 8, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

Fighting to stave off another special election embarrassment, the White House is strengthening its final-days offensive in western Pennsylvania.