On Tuesday, Pennsylvania voters will cast ballots in primary elections for president, Congress, state attorney general and the state Legislature.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — On Tuesday, Pennsylvania voters will cast ballots in primary elections for president, Congress, state attorney general and the state Legislature.
Polls are showing Democratic front-runner and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ahead of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Republican front-runner and New York businessman Donald Trump ahead of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.Aside from the statewide vote for presidential candidates, party voters will be picking delegates to elect them at the convention. Democratic primary voters will select 127 delegates, allocated among congressional districts. Those delegates are identified on the ballot as to whether they support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Meanwhile, Republicans will pick 54 delegates, allocated among congressional districts. Those delegates are not identified on the ballot as to which candidate they support.
Pollsters expect a record Republican Party primary voter turnout. Turnout in 1980 of 1.2 million voters, or 55 percent, is the most recent record high, but state elections officials could not immediately produce data before that. Meanwhile, pollsters expect Democratic Party to be lower than it was in 2008, when 2.3 million voters, or nearly 56 percent, cast ballots in therace between then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and Clinton. Clinton won Pennsylvania by about 200,000 votes.
Also on the ballot will be Democrat Rocky De La Fuente and three Republicans who have suspended their campaigns, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
On the ballot will be four Democratic Party candidates: John Fetterman, the three-term mayor of Braddock; Katie McGinty, a former state and federal official mostly in environmental policy; Joe Sestak, a former two-term congressman and retired Navy rear admiral; and Joe Vodvarka, a semi-retired owner of a spring manufacturing shop. Sestak has led most independent polls. The winner will go on to challenge freshman Republican Sen. Pat Toomey in the November election. Toomey is unopposed in the primary.
All 18 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are running for re-election, except 8th district Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick in suburban Philadelphia and 16th district Rep. Joe Pitts in southeastern Pennsylvania. There are primary contests for Democrats in the 2nd, 7th, 8th and the 14th districts. For Republicans, there are primary contests in the 7th, 8th, 9th, 16th and 17th districts.
Three Democrats and two Republicans are running for their party’s nomination to succeed outgoing Democratic Attorney General Kathleen Kane. The Democrats are Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli; Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro; and Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala. The Republicans are former state prosecutor and Scranton cop Joe Peters and state Sen. John Rafferty of Montgomery County.
Candidates chosen during the primary will face off in the fall, but Democrats have a very tall hill to climb in gaining back the majority, with both chambers now firmly in Republican hands. The vast majority of legislative incumbents will either run unopposed or win another term, so the parties generally focus their campaign efforts on vacant seats or in swing districts represented by senators and representatives who have not been in office very long.
A proposed constitutional amendment about whether to extend the state’s mandatory retirement age for judges from 70 to 75 was delayed from the primary to the Nov. 8 general election, although it will likely appear on the ballot in many parts of the state, if not most. Elections officials have been encouraged to notify people that any primary votes on that question will not count. Unofficial results from some counties will be posted online Tuesday, but state elections officials will not tally them. Another statewide ballot question concerns abolishing the scandal-plagued traffic court in Philadelphia.