Republican US Senate primary
Ahead of pre-election night, this was the race that looked the closest: a three-way battle between wealthy, super-PAC-backed big spenders Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick and fringe rebel Kathy Barnette running a grassroots campaign on a tight budget.
When the results came in, it became clear that Barnette’s late poll result would not result in a win. But by midnight on election night, the gap between Oz and McCormick remained razor-thin.
If a Pennsylvania race ends with candidates within 0.5%, they are automatically recounted. Ballots have yet to be tabulated across the Commonwealth, but it appears the two leading candidates are well within the recount margin. It can take days – or even weeks – to get a definitive result.
The primary elections of the Democratic US Senate
Whoever wins the Senate GOP race will face off against Lt. gov. John Fetterman to compete.
Fetterman had a resounding victory in the Democratic primary, beating Pittsburgh-area Rep. Conor Lamb and Philadelphia state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta in every single district.
It was a particularly notable result for a candidate whose political strategy has hitherto been viewed as dubious by many party insiders: Fetterman has tried to argue that he can win nationwide by winning over both typically Liberal urban voters and suburban rural voters Places where Donald Trump has done well.
He also omitted the endorsements that many candidates see as crucial in contested primaries. Lamb and Kenyatta both far outstripped him in support from elected officials and political groups, and Lamb also had support from mainstream PACs.
In the end none of that mattered. Fetterman has a national reputation and a robust network of grassroots donors — he’s easily outperformed other candidates in fundraising, mostly with small donations.
He was struck late in elementary school when he suffered a stroke and missed his own campaign party while recovering from surgery to implant a pacemaker. But his campaign says he should make a full recovery and expects to get back on track for the general election.
The Republican gubernatorial primary
The worst fear of many GOP insiders came true in the GOP primary: Sen. Doug Mastriano of the state of Pennsylvania easily won the crowded race for governor.
Mastriano, a retired army colonel, has risen to prominence for expressing far-right views directly to a domestic network of online supporters. He is also known for supporting the lie that widespread election fraud led to the loss of former President Donald Trump in 2020. Mastriano received Trump’s confirmation for this.
The south-central Pennsylvania legislature campaigned with a mix of stand-by Republican positions such as tax cuts and public funding for private schools, as well as more extreme positions on issues such as abortion. Mastriano supports a ban on the procedure after six weeks and introduced a corresponding bill in the Senate.
As Mastriano emerged as the clear leader of the race in the final weeks of the campaign, many Republican elected officials and other figures in the party establishment began to worry privately, and then publicly, that he was too marginal to compete with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro campaign to beat general election. However, a later attempt to rally support around former Congressman Lou Barletta was ineffective.
With Mastriano declared the winner and concessions made, there was little sign GOP insiders would do anything but support him.
The Democratic gubernatorial primary
In the least surprising result of the night, the Pennsylvania Democrats officially turned the nomination for governor over to second-term attorney general Josh Shapiro.
He was unopposed for the Democratic nomination. The incumbent, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, is on a temporary basis.
Shapiro goes into the general election with a huge cash advantage and the certainty that he faces his preferred opponent. In the late days of the primary, Shapiro’s campaign to fund her first ad began – an attack on Mastriano that was actually read as a checklist for why Trump-leaning GOP voters should support him.
As Mastriano’s victory was formalized, Shapiro issued a statement calling him an “extremist” and highlighting his support for abortion bans and tougher electoral laws.
“Mastriano wants to dictate to Pennsylvanians how they live their lives — that’s not freedom,” his campaign wrote. “Real freedom comes when we trust Pennsylvanians to make their own choices about who they love, who they pray to, and how and when they raise families here in our Commonwealth. I will work tirelessly every day to win this November election, defend the freedoms of Pennsylvanians, and meet this moment.”