Mayor Peduto re-elected, Mundy secures Supreme court seat
Students registered to vote in Pennsylvania cast their ballots this past Tuesday in the Connan room for local and statewide offices, as well as two Pennsylvania ballot measures. Though local Democrats fared well, Republicans made gains in some statewide races.
One such gain was the victory of Republican Sallie Mundy, interim Supreme Court Justice to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, over Democrat and former Steeler Dwayne Woodruff in the highest statewide seat up for election following an email porn scandal that led to the resignation of two Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justices. Justice Mundy marketed both her bipartisan respect, as she had been appointed interim justice by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf, and funded late-launching attack ads against her opponent, whom she had decisively out-fundraised.
Though Justice Mundy’s margin of victory was under five percent, it represented the widest margin in this year’s statewide judicial elections in what might portend an increasingly purple state. She was behind, however, by 27 percentage points in Allegheny County. Democrats retain control of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which recently decided to fast-track a political gerrymandering case, and which continuously makes decisions that impact the lives of people all over Pennsylvania.
Pittsburgh maintained its status as a deeply blue city, with Mayor Bill Peduto running unopposed and easily securing re-election. Peduto recently garnered national attention in his response to President Trump’s claim that his administration was working for “Pittsburgh, not Paris.” He spent a year studying at Carnegie Mellon University and worked with the university in 2016 to launch Pittsburgh’s Smart City Application. Sheriff Bill Mullen, a Democrat, was also re-elected.
Democrats also experienced some unanticipated gains in races such as the Allegheny County Council, with Democrat Anita Prizio beating out Republican incumbent Ed Kress. In the three other County Council races where candidates were running unopposed, all of the incumbents held onto their seats, with both Democrats beating their opponents by a margin of over ten points, and Republican Tom Baker, who represents County Council district one, winning by less than one point.
Both referenda on the ballot were approved as well, with voters overwhelmingly choosing to amend Pittsburgh’s home-rule charter to allow city employees to take side jobs at schools. The statewide amendment to Pennsylvania’s constitution that would allow legislatures to vote to allow taxing entities to exempt primary residents from property taxes was also passed. Allegheny County voted against it by a slim margin.
Though local elections proved to trend largely Democratic, results such as the election of Justice Mundy showed that statewide races can prove highly competitive.
Voter turnout was around 23 percent, down from 2015 where around 26 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the last non-presidential or midterm election year. Allegheny County also did not officially hand out “I voted” stickers, instead opting to give voters receipts that state the date and their voter number, and are much less fun.
More data about turnout and further results from the elections can be found at http://www.alleghenycounty.us/elections/election-results.aspx.