By Adam Sherman
As the nation is still adjusting to the starkly different policies of the Trump administration compared to the Obama White House, aspiring politicians across the nation are looking ahead to the next major election in 2018. For Pennsylvania, that means two critical elections – for our Governor and for one of our U.S. Senators.
After serving a tumultuous first term as Governor, Tom Wolf is seeking a second term. His time as the executive of Pennsylvania has been rocked by conflict with a Republican legislature, as Wolf has been called the most liberal governor in the nation. He has also been embroiled in budget disputes with the legislature, becoming the first PA governor to veto an entire budget bill since 1976.
Facing Wolf are businessman Paul Mango and State Senator Scott Wagner, both Republicans. There is still time for other hopefuls to announce a candidacy. Considering the financial capacity of both men and the difficulty the Wolf administration has been facing in Harrisburg, the race is expected to be one to watch.
Another race in Pennsylvania worth watching as 2018 approaches is the U.S. Senate seat of Bob Casey (D). In the 2016 election, Republican Pat Toomey was narrowly reelected. Given that recent result and Pennsylvania’s vote for President Trump, Senator Casey is sure to face a tough challenge ahead.
Thus far, Republicans Jim Christiana (State Representative), Rick Saccone (State Representative), and Andrew Shecktor (Berwick Borough Councilman) have announced their candidacy for the Senate seat.
As displayed in the 2016 election, Pennsylvania is being split between the increasingly Democratic Philadelphia and surrounding counties and the increasingly Republican western part of Pennsylvania. The 2018 elections will give greater insight into whether the strong trends seen in 2016 were a long-term shift in the state or a one-off event.