Election

PA Lawmakers Advance Redistricting Reforms As June Deadline Looms

May 23, 2018
Katie Meyer / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania lawmakers have advanced a bill that would change the state’s constitution to put its congressional district map in the hands of a citizen commission, one whose 11 members would be chosen by elected officials.

Mary Wilson / WITF

Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati is throwing his weight behind a few measures that have, of late, been more commonly championed by Democrats.

The top Republican official, of Cameron County, said in a wide-ranging speech Monday that he wants to see the redistricting process overhauled, and also switch the commonwealth to open primaries.

Scarnati made it clear, his anger over the state Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate and redraw Pennsylvania’s congressional map hasn’t abated.

Laura Ellsworth Campaign video via YouTube

After being outspent and outshouted for months in the Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial primary, Laura Ellsworth is getting air time, endorsements, and — she hopes — a surge toward the finish line.

Ellsworth, a Pittsburgh attorney, never had the personal wealth to compete with state Sen. Wagner and Pittsburgh businessman Paul Mango, each of whom invested millions in their own campaigns.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

A new non-partisan commission will investigate how to better secure voting machines, voter registration, and other elements of Pennsylvania's electoral system. 


Voters Eye Pennsylvania’s Wide-Open, Crowded U.S. House Races

May 7, 2018
Marc Levy / AP

Like his seven Republican rivals before him, Stephen Bloom had delivered all the conservative bona fides to the crowd at the social hall in rural southern Pennsylvania when he offered a sweetener: He will visit often if he's elected to Congress.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

The close-knit homes of Pittsburgh’s Morningside neighborhood could almost be the backdrop for the opening credits to 1970s sitcom "All In the Family." But when Sara Innamorato is out knocking doors, the first-time Democratic candidate can see at least one way she’s changing the landscape.

“It’s just a bizarre, bizarre thing to see your name on a sign,” she said.

Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania is starting the process of replacing its voting machines. And at the state Farm Show complex this week, election administrators and the public got a chance to see what the new ones might look like.

The display comes soon after Governor Tom Wolf handed down a mandate that all counties upgrade their election equipment by the end of next year, leaving officials scrambling to figure out how to afford it.

Chris Potter / 90.5 WESA

Pundits say the 75 Democrats who gathered in this Washington, Pa. library basement last weekend have a tough road ahead in the newly drawn 14th District. 

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvanians have until the close of business Monday to register if they want to vote in the May 15 primary, but they can sign up online

Matt Rourke / AP

A crowded field of Democratic candidates for Lieutenant Governor met for a debate Monday as they attempt to unseat incumbent Democrat Mike Stack.

Though Stack himself was busy presiding over the Senate and was notably absent, his four-year tenure was a central topic.

In Pennsylvania, candidates for governor and lieutenant run separately from one another in primaries, and pair off for the general election.

That can lead to odd couplings—including the current one between Stack and Governor Tom Wolf.

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.

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.

Emma Lee / WHYY

Pennsylvanians won't be lacking for choice when they select general election candidates for lieutenant governor.

Pennsylvania's state elections officials reported receiving paperwork from seven Democrats and five Republicans by Tuesday night's deadline.

House Races Are In Full Swing, But Layered With Uncertainty

Mar 5, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania's congressional races are in full swing, while Republicans are waging legal battles in federal courts in an effort to block a new map of 18 districts imposed by the state Supreme Court.

That has added a layer of uncertainly to fields of candidates that already went through upheaval when the state's high court redrew boundaries last month, putting the homes of some congressional hopefuls into different districts or forcing them to rethink their candidacy.

State Disputes Claim 100K Noncitizens Registered To Vote

Mar 1, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

Pennsylvania election officials said Wednesday that there is no evidence to back up a claim that more than 100,000 noncitizen immigrants had been registered to vote in the state, responding to a conservative group's lawsuit in federal court.

The Department of State, in a statement to The Associated Press, said it is reviewing data and that the figure "is not confirmed by any substantive analysis by the Department. It is not a credible figure and there is no reason to believe it to be accurate."

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania’s congressional races are seeing a lot of upheaval in the wake of the state Supreme Court redrawing the map after declaring it unconstitutional.

 

The new map drastically shifts district boundaries, and renders several parts of the state much more competitive for Democrats.

 

That left a lot of state politicians feeling compelled to hastily consider—or reconsider—launching congressional bids.

 

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A voter from the Philadelphia suburbs is the 1 millionth person to register to vote or update their registration online since Pennsylvania's online system began more than two years ago.

State officials said Monday that about 60 percent of those users were signing up to vote, while the rest were changing their name, address or party affiliation.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Political groups around Pennsylvania are working to figure out what the state Supreme Court’s new congressional map will mean for their agendas.

Several organizations that have backed efforts to redraw the districts say they are concerned that the new plan may dilute votes from black communities.

When drawing congressional maps, one key standard authors have to meet comes from the Voting Rights Act.

Alex Brandon / AP

President Donald Trump on Tuesday encouraged Republicans to fight Pennsylvania's new court-imposed map of congressional districts, issued a day earlier in a move expected to improve Democrats' chances at chipping away at the GOP's U.S. House majority.

Congressional Map Raises Democrats’ Hopes, Legal Test Ahead

Feb 20, 2018
(Left) PA Supreme Court, (Right) Office of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack

The map of congressional districts imposed by Pennsylvania's high court for the state's 2018 elections will set off a new legal battle, reconfigure perhaps dozens of campaigns and give Democrats a boost in their mission to wrest control of the U.S. House.

The map of Pennsylvania's 18 congressional districts is to be in effect for the May 15 primary and substantially overhauls a Republican-drawn congressional map widely viewed as among the nation's most gerrymandered.

Democrats Prepare To Take Turn At Drawing U.S. House Districts

Feb 13, 2018
Chris Knight / AP

Top Democratic state lawmakers said Monday they want to work with Gov. Tom Wolf on a consensus Democratic plan of congressional districts to present to state Supreme Court justices who are poised to impose new boundaries.

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa and House Minority Leader Frank Dermody said they hope to meet with Wolf as early as Tuesday to begin cooperation on a map, and have urged Wolf to reject a map given to him on Friday by the GOP-controlled Legislature's top Republicans.

Open Or Contorted U.S. House Districts May See Biggest Changes

Feb 12, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvania's high court last month became the first state court to throw out a congressional map because of partisan gerrymandering, a decision that has ignited a scramble to redraw district boundaries as dozens of candidates watch and wait.

Cliff Owen / AP

Vice President Mike Pence is coming to help raise money in a congressional election in southwestern Pennsylvania widely viewed as a test of whether Republicans can stave off Democratic gains this year.

Pence is scheduled to appear Friday at a rally and fundraiser for Rick Saccone. He's a 59-year-old Republican state representative and retired Air Force intelligence officer running in the March 13 special election to replace Republican Tim Murphy, who resigned last year in a scandal.

Matt Rourke / AP

A week into the three-week period the state Supreme Court allotted lawmakers to redraw Pennsylvania’s congressional maps, not much concrete progress has been made.

Carolyn Kaster / AP, file

Pennsylvania’s longest-serving state representative, Thomas Caltagirone, has confirmed he’s running for a 22nd term.

The news comes as he faces backlash for agreeing to settle a sexual harassment case against him for almost a quarter-million taxpayer dollars.

WHYY

After hearing oral arguments Wednesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court is expected to rule quickly on a lawsuit challenging the state’s congressional district boundaries.

Emma Lee / WHYY

A fourth Republican wants to run for lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.

Joe Gale, a Montgomery County commissioner, announced Tuesday that he's running for the party's nomination, even though the 28-year-old won't meet the state's constitutional age threshold of 30 when the next lieutenant governor is sworn in in January 2019.

Gale couldn't serve until March 2019, when he turns 30.

Gerrymandering Case Sows Doubt In Big Year For House Races

Jan 16, 2018
Google Maps

Lots of people want to run for Congress in Pennsylvania this year, but they may not yet know which district they live in.

The prospect that the state Supreme Court could decide a high-profile gerrymandering case by ordering new boundaries for Pennsylvania's 18 congressional districts, including one that has been described as looking like "Goofy kicking Donald Duck," is sowing uncertainty barely a month before candidates begin circulating petitions.

Map from the office of Lt. Gov. Mike Stack

Next week, the state Supreme Court will hear a lawsuit claiming Pennsylvania’s congressional map is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

Top state Democrats chimed in Wednesday in an attempt to sway the court in favor of the plaintiffs.

In a press conference held in the capitol, Lt. Gov. Mike Stack offered an alternative map he referred to as the “Stack map.”

Susan Walsh / AP

A former drug prosecutor who once ran for state attorney general is entering the field vying to succeed Republican U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta in 2019.

Joe Peters announced Monday that he'll seek the Republican Party's nomination to run for Pennsylvania's 11th District seat in Congress. The district stretches from Shippensburg in southcentral Pennsylvania some 140 miles to rural northeastern Pennsylvania. The primary election is May 15.

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