The Midterms Explained

Keri Marable, Centurion Staff

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On Nov. 6, United States citizens voted in the midterm elections. The midterm elections are the general elections held every four years near the middle of a president’s term. Positions up for election include members of state legislature and the United States Congress.
The Pennsylvania’s General Assembly includes the Pennsylvania Senate with 50 members and the Pennsylvania House of Representatives with 203 members. One Senator and one Representative are elected from each of the voting districts.
Bucks County is a part of Pennsylvania’s first district. There are four state senatorial district seats and 10 state house of representative seats that represent the first district in the state congress.
The four state senatorial seats in Bucks County are Pennsylvania’s 6th, 10th, 12th, and 24th districts. Historically, all four districts have been Republican. The Democratic Party flipped two senatorial seats in Bucks County, creating an even split between the parties.
Bucks County, while not aiding towards the overall Democratic win, still saw a thrilling race. The historical swing state of district 1, which includes Bucks County and part of Montgomery County, re-elected Republican Brian Fitzpatrick. He defeated Democrat Scott Wallace, winning by only 2.5 percent more votes in one of the most watched races in the country this election.
Even though the Republicans held this district in Pennsylvania, they lost the U.S House of Representatives to the Democrats.
Professor John Petito weighed in on the results of the congressional race. He is an associate professor of history and government at Bucks. He teaches early and modern U.S. history and American national government.
“Brian is an attractive candidate because of his bi-partisan efforts,” Petito explained. “I wish he had voted against the tax-grab-for-the-rich bill, but he has voted independently on other issues. Hopefully he can influence his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to choose consensus over conflict. My hope is that the moderate middle can acquire power over the extremes.”
Petito also believes that the democratic majority in the House could be game changing, saying, “If they listened to me, the Democrats would focus on policy and establish a legislative record that will give them something to run on in 2020.”
“The Senate may not agree, or the President may not sign a bill, but at least the Democrats would have a policy record that voters could agree or disagree with – on military defense, cyber-defense, domestic security, net neutrality, environmental protection, agriculture, infrastructure, commercial and financial regulation, taxes and spending, immigration, healthcare, other social benefit programs,” Petito said. “Democrats in the House have to stop letting the Executive Branch and media set the agenda for national discussion and legislation.”
Petito stressed the importance of bipartisan coopetation. “[The Democrats in Congress and the President] will never agree on much – they just have to find one thing they can agree on, then another. It seems to me that infrastructure is a good place to start trying to find agreement.”
Agreement will definitely be something both sides will have to work towards, especially here in Pennsylvania. In Bucks County, there are 10 state house of representative seats for each of the 10 districts within the county: the 18th, 29th, 31st, 140th, 141st, 142nd, 143rd, 144th, 145th, and 178th.
Historically, Republicans dominated with seven districts while Democrats only represented three. The Democrats’ flipped four districts from red to blue, bringing Bucks County to another even split for state legislature.
The two Democrats that flipped the districts were Democrat Wendy Ullman, who took the previously held Republican seat after defeating Republican Joe Flood; and Democrat Brian Kline, who flipped the seat from blue to red after defeating Republican Craig Staats.
Even more “blue wave” upsets in this election. One happened in the 10th District, where Democrat Steve Santarsiero flipped the seat after defeating Republican Marguerite Quinn.
Another occurred in the 12th District,where Republican Stewart Greenleaf Jr. lost re-election to Democrat Maria Collett.
Three of the seats were re-election for democrats like in the 31st District, where Democrat Perry Warren was re-elected in his second race against Republican Ryan Gallagher.
The 140th District re-elected unopposed Democrat John T Galloway, who’s been representing since 2007. In the 141st District, Democrat Tina Davis was re-elected in the race against Republican Anthony J. Sposato. She has held the position since 2011.
Still, some Republicans held their ground. In the 18th District, voters re-elected Republican Gene Digirolamo, who has been representing Bensalem for 24 years and received 56.5 percent of votes. Digirolamo defeated the Democratic newcomer Jimmy Lamb. In the 6th District, Republican Tommy Tomlinson was re-elected in the race against Democrat Tina Davis.
In the 142nd District, Republican Frank Farry was re-elected to represent for the tenth year, receiving 56.3 percent against Democrat Lauren Lareau.
Republican Wendy Thomas held her seat against Democrat Helen Tai in the 178th District. In the 24th District, Republican Bob Mensch was re-elected in the race against Democrat Linda Fields.
In the 29th District candidate Republican Meghan Schroeder defeated Democrat Andrew Dixon and in the 144th District, Republican Todd Polinchock defeated Democrat Meredith Buck.
In this election, Bucks County is represented by an even split between Democrat and Republican candidates for both the House of Representatives and Senate of the Pennsylvania General Assembly state legislature.
Democrat Tom Wolf was re-elected for Governor, winning 57.6 percent of the state vote and defeating Republican Scott Wagner. This will be Wolf’s second term as governor, which helps the Democratic Party gain the power of veto over the republican majority still in Pennsylvania’s General Assembly.
Democrat John Fetterman joins the Wolf team as a newcomer to the state’s capitol, but not a new face in politics.
Fetterman served as the mayor of Braddock, just outside Pittsburgh. He has now been elected Lieutenant Governor on the same ticket as Tom Wolf.
Pennsylvanians re-elected Democrat Bob Casey for Pennsylvania representative in the U.S Senate, with 55.6 percent of the vote, defeating Republican Lou Barletta.
Previously, Republicans held 13 seats and Democrats held five. This election, the Democrats were able to flip four districts while the republicans only flipped two, bringing the number of democrats and republicans representing Pennsylvania to an even split.
However, the Democrats’ four new representatives reflected the blue wave coming to the U.S Congress.
As the Trump administration reaches its midpoint in the term, this election could mean many things for the United States. On a federal level, the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives brings a new twist to the coming two years until the next presidential election, and could possibly bring new moves. However, with the Republicans holding the senate, bipartisan cooperation is required moving forward.

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