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Politics and Government

Not Just President: Many Pennsylvania Races Await Winners

Matt Slocum
Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Hundreds of Pennsylvania political candidates and their supporters followed vote counting closely Wednesday, watching downballot races that may hinge on the same untallied mail-in and provisional ballots that have delayed the state’s presidential race results.

The winners of four of Pennsylvania’s 18 congressional races remained unclear a day after Election Day, along with results of three statewide officer contests and the makeup of a good chunk of the Legislature.

Nina Ahmad, the Democratic candidate in the statewide race for auditor general, said that after a late night she was forcing herself to be patient and avoid obsessing over the latest internet results or cable TV analysis.

“I’m trying to do none of that,” Ahmad said Wednesday. “I’m doing it occasionally — other people are doing it on my behalf. What I’m doing is, ‘Should I empty the dishwasher? Should I fold clothes?’ Things I haven’t done in these last few months.”

With unofficial returns due to the state early next week, and certified results in about three weeks, the counting will recalibrate the partisan balance in the politically riven General Assembly and determine whether any members of the state’s congressional delegation have lost their jobs.

“Counting votes cast by mail, if you’re going to do it right and you’re going to do it accurately — because there’s no other choice — takes a little bit of time,” Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt said Wednesday. “So I know that’s very frustrating.”

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf sounded a similar note, pledging that all votes are “going to be counted accurately and they’re going to be counted fully.”

Incumbents awaiting results in congressional races are Republican U.S. Rep. Scott Perry and Democratic U.S. Reps. Conor Lamb, Susan Wild and Matt Cartwright. The other 14 Pennsylvania incumbents all won.

In a closely watched congressional race, Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick won a third term in a suburban Philadelphia district, turning back a challenge from Democrat Christina Finello.

Fitzpatrick, a former FBI agent who succeeded his brother in the seat, brands himself as independent in the politically divided district and was one of just three House Republicans in the entire country running for reelection in a district won by Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Control of the state House was also at stake. Democrats went into the election needing nine seats to seize the majority from Republicans after a decade out of power, but lost at least one incumbent in early returns.

First-term Rep. Wendy Ullman of Bucks County in the Philadelphia suburbs was defeated by Republican Shelby Labs.

Democrats also saw hopes of regaining a state Senate majority become dimmer as Republican Devlin Robinson unseated Democratic Sen. Pam Iovino in a suburban Pittsburgh district. Republicans currently have a 28-21 Senate majority, as well as an independent who caucuses with the GOP, Luzerne County Sen. John Yudichak.

A pair of Democratic incumbents, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Treasurer Joe Torsella, are hoping they were reelected, while Pennsylvanians also picked a new auditor general to replace term-limited Democrat Eugene DePasquale. In that race, Ahmad’s Republican opponent is Timothy DeFoor.

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