With a very light turnout across the state, the May 20 primary election still produced some very dramatic results. Tom Wolf, the prohibitive favorite among the four Democratic candidates for the nomination still impressed by winning 59 percent of the vote. His running mate will be State Sen. Mike Stack (Phila). Gov. Corbett and Lt. Gov. Cawley were unopposed in their primaries.
At the congressional level, Bill Shuster (PA 9) of Blair County was one of two incumbents who faced a primary challenge. He won the Republican race against two challengers. In Allegheny County, Democratic incumbent Mike Doyle easily turned back his primary challenge and will be unopposed in the November election. The only open seat in the state, the 13th district, featured a four person Democratic primary. The favored physician candidate, Val Arkoosh, MD ran fourth in the field. State Rep. Brendan Boyle, the only candidate in the field from Philadelphia, won in a race that gained national attention. The early favorite was former Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies, who had family support from the Clinton family. She finished second. The district is almost evenly split between Montgomery and Philadelphia counties and that was among the deciding factors for Boyle. The Republican candidate will be Carson Dee Adcock.
On the plus side for medicine, State Rep. Karen Boback successfully defeated her optometrist opponent with help from PAMPAC. In the Luzerne County based 117th District, Boback won with 63 percent of the vote.
Two state legislative incumbents did suffer losses. State Sen. Leanna Washington (4th) and J.P. Miranda (197th) were battling both legal concerns and strong primary opponents. Both are Democrats and both seats will stay in that column in the fall.
Several other House members from both parties faced challengers, including Professional Licensure Committee Chair Julie Harhart (183rd) of Northampton County. All survived, some more comfortably than others.
PAMPAC backed candidate State Rep. Ryan Aument won the Republican nomination for the State Senate in the open Lancaster county 36th district.
Almost unanimously, political pundits expect the battle for control of the state senate to closely follow the gubernatorial campaign in the fall elections. Control now rests with the GOP by a 27-23 margin. Both parties believe that they can pick up seats. Battlegrounds are expected to be districts in Bucks, Delaware, Fayette, Mercer, and Monroe counties. The Democratic effort to regain control of the PA House is widely considered to be more of a long term project. Republicans now hold a 111 – 92 edge in that chamber.