What you’ll see on the primary ballots
Pennsylvania’s primary election is today, and there are several offices at the state and federal level for which voters in the Democratic and Republican parties will nominate candidates to compete in November’s general election.
One important point to remember is that no one is actually elected to anything today. These races — which are open only to voters registered as members of the Democratic or Republican parties — are simply to nominate a candidate. Democratic candidates are only running against Democratic candidates and Republican candidates are only running against Republican candidates.
Who will hold office will be decided in November’s general election.
The two highest-profile races seem to be those for Pennsylvania governor and for one of Pennsylvania’s two seats in the U.S. Senate. Both will see new faces as Gov. Tom Wolf is term-limited and cannot seek re-election and Sen. Pat Toomey is retiring at the conclusion of his term.
Other races on the ballot include a battle in Juniata and Perry counties, as two incumbent state representatives must face one another due to legislative redistricting.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. today.
For the Democrats, this seems pretty straightforward. Attorney General Josh Shapiro is the only candidate on the ballot.
For Republicans, it’s anything but. Nine names will appear on the ballot, even though two of those candidates — State Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman and Melissa Hart — have said they are now supporting the candidacy of former Congressman Lou Barletta. Polls have consistently shown State Sen. Doug Mastriano, of Franklin County, as the front-runner. Dave White, of Delaware County and former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain, of Chester County, have also been drawing significant support in recent polls. The other candidates are Dr. Nche Zama, of Northampton County, Charlie Gerow, of Cumberland County, and Joe Gale, of Montgomery County.
One of the quirks of Pennsylvania politics remains the separate elections for governor and lieutenant governor, which can sometimes lead to a “ticket” not really being on friendly terms with one another.
In the Democratic race for this office, it’s a three-way contest to join Shapiro between Allegheny County state Rep. Austin Davis, Montgomery County’s Ray Sosa and Philadelphia County state Rep. Brian Sims.
For Republicans, it is again a nine-way race for this office. Candidates include Clarice Schillinger, James Earl Jones (not the actor), Rick Saccone, John Brown, Chris Frye, Jeff Coleman, Russ Diamond, Carrie Lewis Delrosso and Teddy Daniels.
The race to fill the seat being left vacant by the retiring Pat Toomey has drawn a lot of interest.
Democrats will choose between four candidates: current Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, Congressman Conor Lamb, Alex Khalil and State Rep. Malcom Kenyatta.
Republicans have yet-another crowded primary field as voters in that party will choose between seven candidates. A large portion of the race has seen dueling TV ads between Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick, although polls seem to indicate Kathy Barnette has been gaining ground quickly. Former gubernatorial candidate Jeff Bartos, George Bochetto, Sean Gale and Carla Sands are also running for the GOP nomination.
U.S. House of Representatives
The race for U.S. House of Representatives is pretty low-key. In the new 13th Congressional District — created by a map redrawing caused by Pennsylvania losing a seat in Congress after the 2020 Census — Democrats have no candidates on the primary ballot. Republicans have only one candidate, incumbent Dr. John Joyce from Blair County. In Snyder County, voters are part of the new sprawling 15th District, which sees incumbent Glenn “G.T” Thompson, of Centre County, as the only candidate from either party.
After initially considering moving to a new district, Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, announced he would leave Congress when his current term expires.
There will be a contested election for the new 30th Senatorial District — which includes Mifflin and Juniata counties — but not until November.
Democrat Carol Taylor and Republican incumbent state Sen. Judy Ward — both from Blair County — are both unopposed in their respective party primaries.
Corman announced he was not seeking re-election to the Pa. Senate to focus on his run for governor.
Pa. House of Representatives
Just like in the state Senate race, most of Mifflin and Juniata counties won’t see a contested election until the fall.
Democrat Robert Zeigler and incumbent state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff are unopposed in their party primaries for the 171st District.
Both men are from Centre County. Benninghoff is seeking his 14th term in the General Assembly.
In the 86th District, which includes most of Juniata County and all of Perry County, two incumbents are facing off with each other due to redistricting. State Reps. John Hershey and Perry Stambaugh will compete for the nomination (and the right to likely run unopposed in the fall, as the Democrats have no candidate on the ballot).
In the 85th District, which includes Snyder County and parts of Mifflin and Juniata counties, Republican incumbent state Rep. David Rowe is the only candidate on the ballot for either party.
Primary voters will also be asked to select members of the state Republican and Democratic committees, and voters in certain precincts will also be asked to select party committee members and/or precinct committee members.