WAYNE COUNTY—Unofficial results from Tuesday's midterm elections saw a Congressional shift at the federal level while Pennsylvania maintained the status quo in its leadership.
All results are temporary and subject to change until the Election Board has formally accounted for all write-in and absentee ballots.
The formal count begins Friday, November 9 at 9:00 a.m. in the Wayne County Courthouse, and is open to the public.
Incumbent United States Senator Bob Casey (D) was re-elected to another term, defeating opponent Lou Barletta (R) by more than 600,000 votes statewide.
Similarly, current Governor Tom Wolf (D) won his re-election, overcoming next-highest vote-getter, Scott Wagner (R) by over 80,000 votes across PA.
Wolf is joined this term by Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D).
Helping the Democrats take control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Matt Cartwright (D) of the former 17th Congressional District, was elected to represent Wayne County and the other denizens of Pennsylvania's newly redrawn 8th Congressional District, beating opponent John Chrin (R) by 20,000 votes.
Though the above-listed politicians ultimately won their respective seats, all received the minority vote in Wayne County.
All three of Wayne County's incumbent members of the PA General Assembly were re-elected.
Senator Lisa Baker (R), received just under 15,000 Wayne County votes for the 20th Senatorial district, beating her opponent, John Sweeney, by over 12,000.
Representative Jonathan Fritz (R) overcame Rebecca Kerr-Kinney by over 4,600 votes in Wayne County to retain his seat in the 111th Legislative District.
Representative Mike Peifer defeated challenger Orlando Marrero by 4,400 Wayne County votes, retaining his seat representing the 139th Legislative District.
A release from Speaker Mike Turzai of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives notes following Tuesday's elections, “... the House Republican Caucus will be at least 108 members for the 2019-20 legislative session that begins Jan. 1.”
Dominating the house for the fifth consecutive session, Turzai's release states Republican leaders said “... the election results were a reflection of the Republican Caucus' work of stand up for taxpayers as the governor and Democrats worked to raise taxes on all Pennsylvania families and employers.”
A release from the Democratic National Convention states, “We won back the House because our candidates had a clear message for working families and refused to let Trump and the GOP distract us from the issues that matter most. Democrats believe that health care is a right for all. We believe that the economy should work for everyone, not just those at the top.
“We believe in protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, not tearing holes in the safety net in order to enrich those already at the top. We believe that diversity is our strength, and that there is no justification for the brutality of separating immigrant children from their parents. And we believe that facts matter.”
Elevated voter numbers
Poll workers were treated to a pleasant surprise, Tuesday, as Wayne County voters flocked to the polls in droves.
Cindy Furman, Director of the Wayne County Bureau of Elections, said voter turnout hit an unusually high 60 percent for Tuesday's midterm.
Happy to see so many people taking to the polls, Furman speculated a swell of public interest and election coverage in the media encouraged Tuesday's elevated numbers.
“The poll workers were surprised and pleased to see the turnout,” said Furman.
Checking in on Tuesday with Honesdale precinct 3, stationed out of the Wayne County Visitor's Center, poll worker Joe Podrasky noted “Turnout is very heavy.”
By 4:00 p.m., the polling station had served around 400 of its 927 registered voters, many of which were first-time voters in the precinct.
Podrasky stated use of electronic voting tablets expedited the voting process.
“We've had people coming in that are not supposed to vote here, but it says right on the iPad, 'no you vote at the Park Street Complex,' or 'vote in Bethany' or whatever it may be and that moves it through.”
Helping as many voters as possible get out to the polls, the Wayne County Republican Committee manned phones and call lists, sending out drivers to escort residents in need to their polling stations.
“We've had people picking people up and taking them to the poll booths,” said Judy Ahrens of the Republican Committee Managing Office, Tuesday afternoon. “We've had five people so far needing rides, and we've had people in here calling all day. It's a very positive response so far.”
Down the street, members of the Wayne County Democratic Committee similarly encouraged voters to get out and vote.
“We've made thousands of phone calls, we've knocked on hundreds of doors over this past two weekends trying to make sure we get the vote out and we get people educated about the candidates up and down the ticket,” said Committee Chairman, Mark Graziadio.
“We've had just an overwhelming support of volunteers, which is really encouraging,” he added, noting several groups comprised of more than just Democrats came together to encourage voters to take to the polls.
A special visit
The Wayne County Democratic Committee was treated to an impromptu visit by Congressman Cartwright as he toured Pennsylvania's newly drawn 8th Congressional District.
Cartwright noted in his visit to various polling stations, “I've been around to … six or seven [polling stations] and every single one of them, the poll workers have eyes like wide as saucers, they can't believe all the turnout their seeing.”
Cartwright added of election day, “Win, lose or draw, it's a win for democracy.”
At the time of his visit, poll results had not yet come in. That being said, Cartwright stated “I very much hope to win this race because I'm itching to represent Wayne and Pike counties.”
Cartwright noted the recent redistricting is “bittersweet...because I'm saying goodbye to some friends that I got to know in Schuylkill, and Carbon and Northampton counties, but I've really always felt like Wayne and Pike were part of my area.”