Politics & Government

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

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Republican Rick Saccone conceded defeat to Democrat Conor Lamb on Wednesday night in a closely watched special election in Pennsylvania, more than a week after the end of a remarkable race that has shaken GOP confidence ahead of the November midterm elections.

Megan Harris / 90.5 WESA


Most of the candidates who intend to run in Pennsylvania’s newly drawn 14th Congressional District to the south and east of Pittsburgh don’t actually live there.

Edwards4Pgh

Shannon Edwards' name didn't appear in a Department of State listing of candidates filing to run for a U.S. House seat by Tuesday evening's deadline. 

Edwards says bad weather prevented her from filing paperwork on time to run for a U.S. House seat in Pittsburgh. A lawyer for Edwards said in a statement Wednesday evening that she'll seek a court order to get on the ballot for the Republican nomination in May 15's primary election.

GOP Lawmakers Seek To Impeach Judges Over Congressional Map

Mar 20, 2018
Keith Srakocic / AP

Twelve Republican state legislators in Pennsylvania have signed on to resolutions seeking to impeach four Democratic justices on the state Supreme Court over rulings in a congressional redistricting case.

Montgomery County

A state judge is ordering a candidate off May's primary ballot for lieutenant governor because he won't meet the state's constitutional age threshold of 30.

Matt Rourke / AP

The majority leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is quitting elective politics, blaming his aborted candidacy for the U.S. House on a new map that put him in the same district as an incumbent congressman from the same party.

Republican state Rep. Dave Reed of Indiana County said Tuesday he made the decision because he doesn't want to challenge GOP U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson.

Reed's in his eighth term and isn't seeking re-election to the state House.

He says he doesn't have plans for a new job but has eight months to figure that out.

Candidates Blitz Pennsylvania’s Newly Competitive Districts

Mar 20, 2018
Gene J. Puskar / AP

An avalanche of would-be candidates filed to run for Congress in Pennsylvania ahead of Tuesday's deadline, taking advantage of more competitive districts and far surpassing candidate numbers in the three elections since Pennsylvania dropped to 18 U.S. House seats.

As of Tuesday evening's deadline, 94 people had submitted paperwork, according to postings by the state elections bureau, including 16 aiming for an open Philadelphia-area seat that is considered likely to flip from Republican to Democrat in this year's mid-term elections.

Elaine Thompson / AP

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's administration said Monday that it will make $35 million available to encourage telecommunications companies to extend high-speed internet service to areas of Pennsylvania that lack it.

Wolf's administration said it hopes to expand broadband internet to every part of Pennsylvania by the end of 2022.

Keith Srakocic / AP

Candidates are submitting petition paperwork ahead of the deadline to get on Pennsylvania's congressional primary election ballots.

More than 20 candidates had filed by mid-day Monday, according to state elections bureau data. The deadline to submit at least 1,000 voter signatures to get on the May 15 primary ballot is Tuesday.

Federal Judges Reject Lawsuit Over Pennsylvania District Map

Mar 19, 2018
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

A panel of federal judges on Monday dismissed a legal challenge by Republican congressmen to a district map imposed last month by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

The decision does not end litigation over the matter, but it makes it much more likely that this year's congressional elections in Pennsylvania will be conducted under district lines widely viewed as more favorable to Democrats than a 2011 map the state court threw out in January.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

As an elementary school choir sang inside the Capitol rotunda on Friday, a group of men and women clad in military fatigues, carrying walkie talkies and AR-15s, gathered just outside.

“We live in a society where we give lazy kids who come in eighth place trophies,” shouted one man, who left before giving his name. “Alright? It’s not a gun problem, it’s a mental problem.”

Christian Yingling wore a patch on his camouflage jacket declaring him part of the Pennsylvania Lightfoot Militia.

He’s from Westmoreland County, and on most days, works as a machinist.

Democrats Bore Lamb's Centrism, Unified On Other Core Issues

Mar 18, 2018
An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

To help explain Tuesday's stunning special U.S. House election in southwestern Pennsylvania, look to Ed Karloski's political preferences for how Democrat Conor Lamb seized the lead for a seat in a Republican stronghold.

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, today all eyes are on Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone, the candidates vying for a seat in the 18th Congressional District. 

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