Guest Editorial: Election a warning for Pennsylvania Democrats

If Democrats are not careful, what happened in New Jersey and Virginia can happen here in Pennsylvania.

Republican Glenn Youngkin defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia governor’s race, becoming the first Republican to win statewide office there since 2009.

In New Jersey, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy narrowly defeated Republican Jack Ciattarelli. The race was far tighter than polls had predicted.

President Joe Biden won New Jersey by 16 points and Virginia by 10 points in the 2020 presidential race.

The Nov. 2 election results should be seen as a warning of what could be in store for Democrats in the 2022 midterms in Pennsylvania and across the nation in statewide contests.

Democrats did well in large cities where Black Democrats won the mayor’s seats in New York and Pittsburgh.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, a reform-minded progressive prosecutor, won 70% of the vote to easily defeat his Republican challenger.

Republican Chuck Peruto was not a serious challenge to Krasner, who mostly ignored his opponent. Krasner could rely on the city’s 7-to-1 Democratic voter advantage.

While Krasner and incumbent City Controller Rebecca Rhynhart, who was uncontested, cruised to victory, Republican Kevin Brobson won a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, beating Maria McLaughlin, a Democrat. Brobson will fill the seat of retiring State Supreme Court Justice Thomas Saylor, a Republican. The current court includes five Democrats and two Republicans.

Brobson will join a court that has been at the center of major political disputes in the past year, handling cases over the contested 2020 presidential election, as well as the legality of how Gov. Tom Wolf used his authority to respond to the global pandemic.

The election results in New Jersey and Virginia could be a sign that Democrats and Republicans will have a fierce battle trying to replace Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and in other statewide races. After serving two terms as governor, Wolf is not eligible for re-election. Toomey, who has sometimes disagreed with former President Donald Trump, has decided not to run for re-election.

On the national level, Biden and congressional Democrats must work together to pass the president’s economic agenda. Inertia in Washington is hurting Biden in the polls and Democrats nationwide.

In Pennsylvania, Democrats must present strong candidates with a clear message if they hope to get the large turnout needed to win the midterms.

Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune

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