HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — 2022 was a blockbuster year for Pennsylvania politics, as the entire country watched the keystone state elect a new senator and governor, both of which ended up being Democrats. The Democrats also secured a big win in the State House.
Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who will replace retiring Republican Pat Toomey, overcame the odds and countless obstacles to become a United States Senator. Fetterman’s new position will also give Pennsylvania two elected Democratic Senators for the first time since World War II.
“This campaign has always been about fighting for anyone who’s been knocked down and got back up,” said Fetterman.
Fetterman had no problem outdistancing Conor Lamb and Malcolm Kenyatta in the primary but suffered a stroke just days before the primary election. Critics insisted Fetterman was less than forthcoming about the severity of his stroke.
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“As you can see we hit a little bump on the campaign trail,” Fetterman added.
That “little bump” nearly killed Fetterman and kept him off the campaign trail for months.
As for the GOP, Trump-endorsed Mehmet Oz defeated Dave McCormick by less than 1,000 votes.
Oz and Fetterman had one debate, hosted by abc27, just two weeks before the election.
Fetterman’s performance in the debate was uneven; Republicans called it alarming. However, it didn’t matter to voters who gave Fetterman a shockingly easily five-point win that flipped a Senate seat in Washington D.C.
Josh Shapiro’s win as Pennsylvania’s governor marks the first time Democrats were elected back-to-back since the late 1950s.
Shapiro will replace term-limited Democrat Tom Wolf after he easily defeated Republican Doug Mastriano by 15 points.
Mastriano’s Trump endorsement helped him beat a crowded GOP field in the primary, but Mastriano refused to debate Shapiro or engage with what he called liberal and biased media.
Mastriano received just over two million votes to Shapiro’s three million.
“It means that we can finally run an agenda on the State House floor that’s responsive to what Pennsylvanians want and need,” said Rep. Leanne Krueger (D).
Possibly the biggest surprise on Election Day was Democrats flipping 12 seats in the State House and taking the majority by one chair. Republicans have controlled the chamber for 24 of the last 28 years.
Democrats quickly swore in Joanna McClinton as majority leader, but two resignations and a death mean their 102 wins only had 99 people, less than the Republicans’ 101.
Republicans swore in Bryan Cutler as majority leader.
So who is the boss? A court is currently deciding.
The typical pro forma swearing-in ceremony on Jan. 3 will be significantly more intriguing when a speaker of the house is supposed to be chosen.
Even though Trump-endorsed candidates lost at the top, restless Republicans still flexed their muscles.
Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor in the House and Pat Browne in the Senate were defeated in the primary by candidates to the right.
Kerry Benninghoff and Senate GOP leader Jake Corman, who briefly and unsuccessfully ran for governor, exited the fight for GOP leader as well.
House Republicans ended the year by passing articles of impeachment against Democratic District Attorney Larry Krasner. The Senate set a trial for Jan. 18, 2023.
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Krasner is currently fighting the impeachment in court.
With all the political excitement in 2022, there is no doubt that 2023 is shaping up to be another headline-filled year.