The ballots have been counted (for the most part) and results are becoming clear as to who will be in control following Tuesday’s election. However, some things are still to be determined, which may take weeks until a full, clear picture is in place.
- Here’s what we DO know thus far:
- In the race for PA Governor, current Attorney General Josh Shapiro easily defeated state senator Doug Mastriano thereby keeping the governorship in the hands of the Democrats.
- In the U.S. Senate race between Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and heart surgeon Mehmet Oz, Fetterman was declared the winner picking up a seat for the Democrats in the race for the national balance of power in the United States Senate.
- Also up for grabs were 17 congressional races which remained basically unchanged after the dust settled. All current incumbents ended up winning their seats and as a result, the congressional delegation makeup will remain 9 Democrats and 8 Republicans.
- In the battle for control of the Pennsylvania State Senate, the GOP retained its 28-22 majority, which was how they started going into the election. It is expected that current Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward from Westmoreland County will ascend and become the President Pro Tempore of the Senate when it reconvenes in early January.
- Here’s what we do NOT know thus far:
- Who will have control of the Pennsylvania State House of Representatives.
- It appears that the balance of power will hinge on two races that have yet to be called. These races are:
- Bucks Co. 142 District: Democrat Mark Moffa leads Republican Joseph Hogan by 2 votes. (yes, that’s 2 votes!!)
- Montgomery Co. 151 District: Republican Todd Stephens leads Democrat Melissa Cerrato by 26 votes.
Republicans in the House entered election night with a 113 to 90 seat advantage. However, due to a massive amount of GOP retirements—primarily due to the dramatic redrawing of district boundaries during the reapportionment process—the GOP was hoping to return with a 105 to 98 sort of majority. But, this quickly became a “best case scenario” as the returns poured in and votes were counted. Notable GOP incumbent losses include Rep. Tim Hennessey (Chester Co.), Rep. Todd Polinchock (Bucks Co.), and Rep. Chris Quinn (Delaware Co.); one of the notable Democrat losses was Rep. Chris Sainato (Allegheny) who was defeated to newcomer Marla Brown. Additionally, the Democrats were able to make many gains in open seats that were heavily Republican seats prior to Redistricting which made them much more competitive.
Currently, Republicans are holding onto a very slim 102 to 100 seat majority with one vacancy expected due to the death of Rep. Tony DeLuca who was on the ballot and re-elected on Tuesday. This razor-thin number assumes that at least one of the two close races in Bucks and Montgomery counties mentioned above hold for the GOP. If neither of them hold, then we could be facing a 101 to 101 divide and a huge question as to who will assume the majority when the House reconvenes in January.
Because of the status quo nature of this election, we do not expect to see many significant impacts on the highway construction industry in Pennsylvania. A new governor will likely lead to a new transportation secretary in January. We also will have new majority and minority Transportation Committee chairs in the House. One thing is also clear: Over 75% of the General Assembly will be newly seated since 2013, when the last state transportation funding bill (Act 89) was passed. This alarming number will require the industry to actively engage in an educational outreach effort in 2023 if we are to be successful in positioning the state for another funding initiative.