Party Control of Pennsylvania House Will Come Down to Two Undecided Races

As the week of Election Day 2022 draws to a close, it remains uncertain whether Republicans or Democrats will have the helm of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the next two years, with two southeastern races to decide the outcome. 

Pennsylvania has 203 legislative districts and electoral contests have been clinched by one major party or the other in 201 of them. Democrats prevailed in 101 of those races, meaning the GOP needs to win both of the still undetermined seats in order to keep control of the General Assembly’s lower chamber. 

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Pennsylvania Senate GOP Leaders Ask Secretary of State to Comply on Undated Ballots, Other Election Rules

Days before the 2022 midterm elections, Pennsylvania Republican Senate leaders wrote to their commonwealth’s chief voting overseer seeking assurance that laws governing undated absentee ballots will be followed. 

The letter from Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-Greensburg) and Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) goes on to urge acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman (D) to follow official procedure on other electoral matters as well. 

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U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Counting Undated Pennsylvania Mail-In Ballots

The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a lower federal court’s decision Tuesday allowing Pennsylvania counties to count undated mail-in ballots. 

The case originated in 2021 after Republican David Ritter and Democrat Zachary Cohen vied for a judgeship on the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas and their race came to a near tie. Cohen eventually netted a five-vote lead when the Philadelphia-based Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resolved a dispute between the candidates about whether to count 257 absentee ballots. Those sheets were returned in envelopes on which the voter failed to write a date. 

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Corman Withdraws from Pennsylvania Governor’s Race, Endorses Barletta; Santorum Adds His Support

Lou Barletta picked up two high-profile endorsements in his campaign for Pennsylvania governor on Thursday: newly withdrawn gubernatorial candidate Jake Corman and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA). 

Corman, who serves as state Senate President Pro Tempore and represents a district that includes State College, polled consistently in the single digits throughout the Republican gubernatorial primary. Despite his ending his bid, his name will remain on the ballot as the deadline has passed for removing it. 

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Former Prosecutor McSwain Running on Constitutional and Economic Conservatism

Bill McSwain, a Republican candidate for Pennsylvania governor, likes to emphasize his public-service experience — and his distinction as a relative political newcomer.

The 53-year old former federal prosecutor and Chester County native hasn’t held elected office, unlike other high-polling hopefuls state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Gettysburg), former Congressman Lou Barletta (R-PA-11) and former County Commissioner Dave White (R-Delaware). That’s often among the first details McSwain and his supporters mention about him.

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Corman to Bannon: Election Integrity Will Be Paramount in Pennsylvania Gubernatorial Administration

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore and gubernatorial candidate Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) appeared on Steve Bannon’s War Room Thursday to discuss his proposed reforms to make elections more secure in his state.

Corman promised to call for a special legislative session on election-related legislation the day he takes office. Items he said he intends to address foremost are requiring identification of all voters, rescinding a state policy allowing people to vote by mail without submitting an excuse, banning absentee-ballot drop boxes and banning the use of private grants for election administration.

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Commonwealth Court Blocks Pennsylvania’s Entry into Carbon Taxation Initiative

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court this week blocked the state’s entry into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), an 11-state compact requiring de facto taxation of power plants’ carbon emissions.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D) tried to effect Pennsylvania’s participation in the initiative by issuing an executive order in 2019, thus neglecting to seek approval of the Republican-led General Assembly. The court’s new opinion comes one day after the state Senate failed to override the governor’s veto of legislation letting the General Assembly end the state’s membership in the compact. Legislative leaders have argued that the governor’s unilateral action violated the state Constitution and were heartened upon hearing of the judges’ decision.

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Pennsylvania State Senate Leader Sees Bipartisan Support to Impeach Soros-Backed Philadelphia District Attorney

Pennsylvania state Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) said this week that there is bipartisan support in the state House of Representatives to file articles of impeachment against Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner (D).

Corman, who’s running for governor, sent a letter to the Republican-led state House on Tuesday, urging them to begin impeachment proceedings against Krasner, citing the prosecutor’s “refusal” to “hold criminals accountable for the crimes that they commit.”

Krasner was elected in 2017 with the help of $1.7 million from the George Soros-backed Philadelphia Justice and Public Safety PAC.

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Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Corman Calls for Philly District Attorney’s Impeachment

Outrage at Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s (D) leniency toward criminals has driven Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) to call for the prosecutor’s impeachment.

Corman sent a letter to leaders of the GOP-run state House of Representatives asking them to seek Krasner’s removal. In his missive, the lawmaker deplored the city’s sharp present rise in violent crime and said the district attorney has played a major role in that spike by allowing many offenders to escape punishment.

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Pennsylvania Courts Deal Blows to Progressives on Election Review and Redistricting

Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court green-lighted the state Senate Republicans’ election probe this week; the state Supreme Court has meanwhile declined to take up the remapping of congressional districts. 

As a result of the Commonwealth Court’s ruling, the Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee may proceed with its subpoenas of voter records. The Supreme Court’s decision means Gov. Tom Wolf (D) will likely have to work out a compromise with the Republican state legislature on congressional reapportionment.

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Pennsylvania Governor Recalls Secretary Nomination Amid Legislative Election Probe

Gov. Tom Wolf recalled his nomination for acting Secretary of State Veronica Degraffenreid on Monday after alleging that Senate Republicans would not vet her fairly amid the chamber’s controversial election investigation.

“It is clear that instead of providing advice and consent on my nominee for Secretary of the Commonwealth, they instead plan on using her confirmation as an opportunity to descend further into conspiracy theories and work to please the former president [Donald Trump] by spreading lies about last year’s election, instead of working together to address real issues facing Pennsylvanians,” Wolf said in an emailed statement to reporters on Monday.

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Pennsylvania Senate Panel Wants Citizens to Testify If They Witnessed Election Malfeasance

The Pennsylvania Senate committee tasked with investigating instances of election malfeasance asked residents this week to submit their testimony for its review.

Intergovernmental Operations Committee Chairman Cris Dush, R-Wellsboro, said residents should only submit their stories if they are willing to sign an affidavit and potentially testify under oath, under penalty of perjury, before the panel during forthcoming hearings.

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Pennsylvania GOP Senators’ Internal Battle Over Imperiled Forensic Election Audit Goes Public

An internal fight among legislators over a forensic election audit is spilling into public after Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Gettysburg, accused leaders in his own party of stonewalling his investigation.

The senator made the comments during a Thursday interview with One America News Network that he later doubled down on in a lengthy statement posted to his social media pages the following day.

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