Republican Tsunami Takes Governor's Office, Returns GOP To Power In State House
The voters have spoken and they gave the nod to Republican Tom Corbett for Governor and gave Republicans at least a 111 to 92 seat majority in the House, reversing the 104 to 99 Democratic majority.
These results together with the Republican Senate will give Republicans control of the Senate, House and Governor's Office for the first time since Gov. Tom Ridge was elected in 1994.
In the Governor's race, Republican Tom Corbett won the office 54.5 to 45.5 percent. Democrat Dan Onorato won just three of 67 counties: Lackawanna, Montgomery and Philadelphia; not even his home county.
In the Senate, Republicans will retain control of that chamber by the same 30 to 20 margin, but with some new faces.
It was a tough night for House Democrats, especially for House Majority Leader Todd Eachus (D-Luzerne) and Rep. David Levdansky (D-Allegheny) who lost their bids for re-election.
There was a total loss of 15 seats for the House Democrats.
However, Rep. Mike Gerber (D-Montgomery), Chair of the House Democratic Campaign Committee, issued this statement on the election results that was far from conciliatory and didn't acknowledge the scope of the defeats--
“We are very proud of the campaigns we ran. We had outstanding candidates, raised a tremendous amount of resources, spent them wisely and talked to more voters than we have in previous cycles. Unfortunately, all of the hard work and talent was not enough to overcome a political climate this difficult for Democrats.
“As Democrats, we must offer a competing vision for the future of Pennsylvania. We must stand up to Governor-elect Corbett’s callous plans to slash critical state programs that serve our seniors, our kids and our most vulnerable and needy citizens. I’ll wake up tomorrow ready to begin our fight to protect Pennsylvanians, regain a majority, and once again advance good policy for the people of Pennsylvania.”
On the Republican side, John Perzel (Philadelphia) appears to be the only Republican to fall. Additionally, former GOP seat held by Mario Civera (Delaware) will be turned over to the Democrats for a total loss of two for the GOP.
House Minority Leader (and future House Speaker) Sam Smith (R-Jefferson) said this week getting Pennsylvania's fiscal house in order is the first priority for the new House Republican majority, along with improving Pennsylvania's business climate to create more jobs.
When asked about the potential budget deficit, Leader Smith said they were not prepared to say what the deficit number will be for next year or sharing specifics about potential cuts or talk about proposals like selling off state properties.
Smith said House Republicans will be prepared to work on Monday when the House returns to session. He said he hopes House Democratic Leadership would not waste time sending bills back to the Senate, but take action on bills they could finish.
In response to a question, Smith said given the state's budget condition, WAMs (Walking Around Money) may be something that doesn't make the cut, but that issue will be driven by Governor-Elect Corbett.
On whether a Marcellus Shale severance tax is still viable, Smith said some members of his Caucus support that, but there have been and will be some tremendous economic gains from second and third tier business development from the Marcellus Shale industry that will result in new state and local revenues.
There are 11 races with a vote difference of 1,000 or less that will probably result in recounts, so these results will not be final for several days.
On Friday, House Democrats announced they cancelled voting session for November 8, 9, 10, 15 and 16. House members are being asked to return to the House Floor on November 15 at 1:00 for end of session remarks. (see separate article)
The Senate and House Caucuses are scheduled to hold elections for their 2011-12 Leadership posts in the next few weeks.
House Republican Leadership elections are now scheduled for November 9 and House Democratic Leadership elections are November 16.
Senate Leadership elections are November 17 along with electing a President Pro Tempore.
Immediate Budget Issues
As if to emphasize one of the first issues the new Republican Leadership needs to address, the Department of Revenue reported this week said Pennsylvania collected $1.8 billion in General Fund revenue in October, which was $57.3 million, or 3.2 percent, less than anticipated.
Sen. Jake Corman (R-Centre), Majority Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the, "October revenue collections provide a sobering reminder that the economy is not yet out of the woods and that the recovery may in fact be slowing." (see separate story)
NewsClips: Corbett Faces A Fiscal Mess In PA
House GOP Sees Driller Obligation
Natural Gas Industry Spent Heavily On GOP Candidates
Gas Industry Execs Eager To Work With Corbett
Corbett Discusses His Plans As Governor
GOP Takes Full Control Of PA House
Republicans Maintain Their Edge In State Senate
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