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Stories about Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s two-session vote requirement for constitutional amendments and party control of the state House

Democrats won control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on November 8 for the first time in 12 years. The Associated Press called 102 seats for Democrats and 101 seats for Republicans. The change in party control may affect a package of constitutional amendments passed earlier this year by Republicans in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

In Pennsylvania, for the state Legislature to refer a constitutional amendment to the ballot, the amendment must receive a simple majority vote in each legislative chamber during two successive sessions.

On July 8, 2022, a package of five constitutional amendments was passed by both the Republican-controlled House and Senate. These amendments are:

  • An amendment that would allow a political party’s candidate for governor to choose their own candidate for lieutenant governor
  • An amendment that would say that constitution grants no right to an abortion
  • An amendment that would require voters to present a voter ID when casting their ballots
  • An amendment that would provide for the auditing of elections and election results by the Auditor General or, when the Auditor General stands for election, an independent auditor
  • An amendment that would allow the legislature to pass concurrent resolutions, which the governor cannot veto, to disapprove regulations

The amendments passed by a 28-22 vote in the Senate and a 107-92 vote in the House. In the Senate, 26 Republicans, one Democrat, and one independent passed the legislation, while 20 Democrats and two Republicans opposed the package. In the House, 106 Republicans and one Democrat voted to approve the amendments, while 84 Democrats and 4 Republicans voted against the amendments.

Currently, the Pennsylvania Senate consists of 28 Republicans, 21 Democrats, and one independent; while the House consists of 113 Republicans and 88 Democrats (with two vacant seats). Heading into the 2023 legislative session, the Senate will consist of 28 Republicans and 22 Democrats. Democrats won 102 seats in the House, but two members will be resigning. Rep. Austin Davis was elected lieutenant governor, and Rep. Summer Lee was elected to Congress. In October, Rep. Tony DeLuca died. Until special elections occur for these three seats, Republicans will hold 101 seats and Democrats will hold 99 seats.

When it comes to passing a constitutional amendment through the state legislature, most states (36 of 49) require legislatures to approve the amendments during one legislative session. Thirteen states, however, require the constitutional amendment to pass through two legislative sessions before being put on the ballot, or, in four of those states, that amendment may be passed in one session if the amendment has a supermajority rather than a simple majority of the votes.

The two-session requirement to pass a constitutional amendment through the state legislature decreases the likelihood of the amendment making it on the ballot. Between 2010 and 2022, 66 constitutional amendments were referred to the ballot within the thirteen states that require two legislative sessions or a supermajority. However, 40 other constitutional amendments did not make it through the second session in these states. If each of these states had a single session requirement, there would have been 106 constitutional amendments referred to the ballot during this time period, meaning that 37.7% of these constitutional amendments failed to make the ballot because they failed during the second legislative session.

When there was a change in party control between legislative sessions during this same time period, 79% of the constitutional amendments (11 out of 14) failed in the second legislative session.

In Pennsylvania, between 2010-2022, half of all constitutional amendments failed in the second session. Out of the 14 amendments that passed in the first session, seven passed the second session, while the other seven failed to pass.

Additional reading



Deluzio, Shaffer, and Sluzynsky face off for open seat in Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District on Nov. 8

Christopher Deluzio (D), Jeremy Shaffer (R), and write-in candidate Walter Sluzynsky (Independent) are running in the general election in Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District on November 8, 2022.

Incumbent Conor Lamb (D), first elected in a March 2018 special election, ran for the U.S. Senate and did not seek re-election. Lamb defeated Sean Parnell (R) in the 2020 general election 51% to 49%.

Insider‘s Hanna Kang wrote, “Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District encompasses the Pittsburgh suburbs of Mt. Lebanon, Penn Hills, and Beaver Falls. President Joe Biden had a 30 percentage point margin of victory under the district’s previous boundaries in 2020 — before it was redrawn to slightly extend its southeastern tip and take in more of the Penn Hills area in Allegheny County in redistricting following the 2020 Census, making it slightly more Democratic.”

Deluzio is an attorney and the policy director of the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security. He received a bachelor’s degree from the United States Naval Academy and a J.D. from Georgetown Law School. His previous work experience includes serving as an active-duty naval officer and working at the Brennan Center for Justice. Deluzio told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he ran for Congress because “Washington is broken and we need leaders willing to stand up to the corporate giants who are gouging us and against extremism that limits people’s rights…I also think the fundamental rights I served to protect in the military are in jeopardy. From voting rights to abortion rights, we must defend them against those who would attack our freedom.”

Shaffer is an engineer and an executive at Bentley Systems, an infrastructure engineering software company. He received a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University, a master’s and Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and an M.B.A. from the University of North Carolina. His previous work experience includes co-founding a software company that provided inspection management services for bridges and roads. Shaffer told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he was “a bipartisan problem-solver, [that] will work with those on both sides who want to deliver common-sense solutions and real reforms.” He said he ran for Congress because “Politics has become a blood-sport in which our country and average Americans are the losers. We desperately need leaders who will work together and make the tough decisions to put America back on track.”

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 118th Congress. All 435 House districts are up for election. As of October 2022, Democrats held a 220-212 majority in the U.S. House with three vacancies. Republicans need to gain a net of five districts to win a majority in the chamber.

Daily Kos calculated what the results of the 2020 presidential election in this district would have been following redistricting. Joe Biden (D) would have received 52.3% of the vote in this district and Donald Trump (R) would have received 46.5%. As of October 2022, 50% of the district’s active voters were registered Democrats, 36% were registered Republicans, and 15% were either registered with some other party or unaffiliated.

Additional reading:

https://ballotpedia.org/Pennsylvania%27s_17th_Congressional_District_election,_2020

https://ballotpedia.org/Pennsylvania%27s_18th_Congressional_District_special_election,_2018



Pennsylvania Democratic candidates have raised $20.8 million more than Republicans

In Pennsylvania, state-level candidates have raised $188.5 million between Jan. 1, 2021, and Sept. 10, 2022. Democratic candidates have raised $97.4 million and Republican candidates have raised $76.6 million. 

Pennsylvania Campaign Finance Snapshot (1/1/2021 – 9/10/2022)

Top 10 Democratic candidates, by donations (1/1/2021 – 9/10/2022)

In the 2022 election cycle, 377 state-level Democrats have filed campaign finance reports with the Pennsylvania Department of State. Here are the 10 Democratic candidates who have raised the most.

RankDemocratic CandidateTotal Raised
1.Josh Shapiro$49,767,019.22
2.Austin Davis$3,773,403.34
3.Maria McLaughlin$3,144,177.75
4.Vincent Hughes$1,571,414.89
5.Joanna McClinton$1,448,884.70
6.Jay Costa$1,330,470.17
7.Martin Flynn$1,264,282.94
8.Bill Peduto$1,180,724.73
9.Matthew Bradford$1,140,193.85
10.Steve Santarsiero$1,089,286.13

Top 10 Republican candidates, by donations (1/1/2021 – 9/10/2022)

During the same time period, 371 Republicans have filed campaign finance reports with the Pennsylvania Department of State. These are the 10 Republican candidates with the highest reported donations for the 2022 election cycle so far.

RankRepublican CandidateTotal Raised
1.Bill McSwain$17,079,326.07
2.Dave White$7,669,515.85
3.Doug Mastriano$4,700,180.79
4.Jake Corman III$4,319,090.42
5.Kevin Brobson$3,367,586.57
6.Lou Barletta$2,371,700.21
7.Carrie DelRosso$2,080,357.50
8.Jason Richey$2,002,222.79
9.Guy Reschenthaler$1,996,087.54
10.Megan Sullivan$1,203,737.71

In some states, officeholders may accept donations from their campaign accounts when they are not up for election. Those donations are included in candidate campaign finance numbers.

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Pennsylvania candidate PACs submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of State. Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports.

Report NameReport Due Date
2021 Annual (C7)1/31/2022
2022 Pre-Primary (C1)4/05/2022
2022 Pre-Primary (C2)5/9/2022
2022 Post-Primary (C3)6/20/2022
2022 Pre-General (C4)9/22/2022
2022 Pre-General (C5)10/31/2022
2022 Post-General (C6)12/12/2022
2022 Annual (C7)2/1/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



Campaign finance deadline today in Pennsylvania

Candidates and organizations involved in Pennsylvania’s statewide elections must file campaign finance information by October 28, 2022. The general election will take place in Pennsylvania on November 8, 2022.

What state-level offices are on the ballot this year in Pennsylvania?

Want to review the campaign finance data in Pennsylvania so far? Click here to explore the data on Transparency USA.

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here. 



All candidates for Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 113 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 113 — Kyle Donahue (D) and Aaron Sepkowski (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of Pennsylvania’s state legislature. Pennsylvania is one of 13 states with a divided government.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office? 

Donahue:       

  • “Every child deserves an equal opportunity to achieve succes. That is why fair funding for our schools is vital to all school districts.”
  • “Every Pennsylvanian deserves affordable, accessible and quality health care. No one should have to choose between their health and basic necessities like food, gasoline, or their homes.”
  • “Our democracy is currently under unprecedented attack and has never been more fragile. We cannot sit idly by while extreme factions continue to undermine our elections for partisan gain.”

Sepkowski       

  • “I am a firm believer of WE THE PEOPLE. I am running as a business owner, farmer, and parent who cannot stand by and watch the deterioration of our communities any longer.”
  • “WE THE PEOPLE of Northeast Pennsylvania, need leaders, not bureaucrats, representing us in Harrisburg.”
  • “I am willing to stand up and advocate for my child’s education, health, prosperity and happiness. I know that you will do the same. A vote for me, is a vote for all that we love and cherish.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 30 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 30 — Arvind Venkat (D) and Cindy Kirk (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of Pennsylvania’s state legislature. Pennsylvania is one of 13 states with a divided government.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office? 

Venkat:           

  • “As an ER doc, I have cared for my neighbors in their times of crisis and will bring that experience and perspective in serving them in a new way as their State Representative.”
  • “I would be the only physician in the General Assembly and can bring that perspective on behalf of our community.”
  • “I understand from my lived professional experience that when we raise the working and middle class, we help everyone and make our communities stronger.”

Kirk:           

  • “Folks can’t afford groceries, gas for their cars, or energy to warm their homes, and it feels like there is no end in sight, but it doesn’t have to be this way…That is why I am running.”
  • “We need grounded reasonable people who focus on working families and their kitchen-table issues.”
  • “The problems we face are huge, from inflation and a stifling economy to education and healthcare, solving them is not a part-time endeavor. It will require a full-time focus and the kind of hard work that I have done my whole life.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 22 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Pennsylvania House of Representatives District 22 — Joshua Siegel (D) and Robert Smith (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of Pennsylvania’s state legislature. Pennsylvania is one of 13 states with a divided government.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What are the main points you want voters to remember about your goals for your time in office? 

Siegel:           

  • “We need to fully fund our public schools and take on the charter school industry that is depriving our public schools of millions. We need to provide tuition-free for community colleges and four-year public universities.”
  • “We need to create a society built on care and compassion through universal childcare and long-term care for our seniors.”
  • “We need a massive generational investment in union-built and maintained social housing.”

Smith:                       

  • “Crime, we need to give more resources to our first responders so they can do their job properly and efficiently.”
  • “Inflation- fuel taxes, food, medication are a few items to mention. We need to dig for oil and fracking, we need to be self sufficient and not depend on foreign oil.”
  • “Education – we need to do something about the cost of college education. Students are coming out of college with big debts that cannot be repaid. School choice is important as it allows parents to send their kids to where they can perform at the greatest potential.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



All candidates for Pennsylvania State Senate District 14 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Pennsylvania State Senate District 14 — Nick Miller (D) and Dean Browning (R) — completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office. 

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Republican Party controls both chambers of Pennsylvania’s state legislature. Pennsylvania is one of 13 states with a divided government.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about? 

Miller:           

“One of my biggest priorities is getting all of PA public schools to be fairly funded. Currently, only 17% of Pennsylvania’s education funding for k-12 goes through the updated fair funding formula. We need to fully implement the formula to 100% of the state education dollars to eliminate an unjust system that has been proven to be detrimental to our children’s education, and which benefits those from higher-income zip-codes.”

Browning:                       

“EDUCATION I’ve long said that education is the civil rights issue of the 21st century. It is the answer to: Poverty It is the answer to: Income Inequality But now it is more than that – it is the national survival issue of the 21st century. Periodically, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development puts out a report of test results from around the world.”

Click on the candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

Additional reading:



These are the most expensive contested elections in the Pennsylvania Senate

Elections for 26 of 50 seats in the Pennsylvania State Senate will take place on Nov. 8, 2022.

This article details the five most expensive contested general elections in the State Senate.

This information comes from candidate reports to the Pennsylvania Department of State covering the period of Jan. 1, 2021, through Sept. 19, 2022.

Five general elections with the most fundraising

#1 District 22 – $1,264,283

Incumbent Martin Flynn (D) raised $1,264,283 and Thomas Bassett (R) raised $0.

#2 District 10 – $1,094,311

Incumbent Steve Santarsiero (D) raised $1,089,286 and Matt McCullough (R) raised $5,025.

#3 District 34 – $782,412

Greg Rothman (R) raised $782,412 and Jim Massey (D) raised $0.

#4 District 8 – $706,603

Incumbent Anthony Williams (D) raised $706,603 and John Hayes (R) raised $0.

#5 District 5 – $695,851

Jimmy Dillon (D) raised $695,851, Sam Oropeza (R) raised $0, and Shawn Dillon (D) raised $0.

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Pennsylvania PACs submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of State. Political expenditures that are not controlled by candidates or their campaigns, known as satellite spending, are not included in candidate totals. Federal PACs are not required to report to state agencies.

Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports. Data from additional reports due in between the deadlines below are published along with the reports listed here.

Report Name Report Due Date
2021 Annual (C7) 1/31/2022
2022 Pre-Primary (C1) 4/05/2022
2022 Pre-Primary (C2) 5/9/2022
2022 Post-Primary (C3) 6/20/2022
2022 Pre-General (C4) 9/22/2022
2022 Pre-General (C5) 10/31/2022
2022 Post-General (C6) 12/12/2022
2022 Annual (C7) 2/1/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



These are the most expensive contested elections in the Pennsylvania House

Elections for all 203 seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will take place on Nov. 8, 2022. Republicans hold a 113-89 majority heading into the election.

This article details the five most expensive contested general elections in the House of Representatives.

This information comes from candidate reports to the Pennsylvania Department of State covering the period of Jan. 1, 2021, through Sept. 19, 2022.

Five general elections with the most fundraising

#1 District 35 – $3,776,088

Incumbent Austin Davis (D) raised $3,773,403 and Donald Nevills (R) raised $2,685.

#2 District 70 – $1,147,644

Incumbent Matthew Bradford (D) raised $1,140,194 and Arthur Bustard (R) raised $7,450.

#3 District 171 – $917,743

Incumbent Kerry Benninghoff (R) raised $898,419 and Robert Zeigler (D) raised $19,324.

#4 District 30 – $543,171

Arvind Venkat (D) raised $505,239 and Cindy Kirk (R) raised $37,932.

#5 District 168 – $322,751

Incumbent Christopher Quinn (R) raised $235,756, Lisa Borowski (D) raised $86,995, and Jimmy Mitchell (U) raised $0.

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active Pennsylvania PACs submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of State. Political expenditures that are not controlled by candidates or their campaigns, known as satellite spending, are not included in candidate totals. Federal PACs are not required to report to state agencies.

Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports. Data from additional reports due in between the deadlines below are published along with the reports listed here.

Report Name Report Due Date
2021 Annual (C7) 1/31/2022
2022 Pre-Primary (C1) 4/05/2022
2022 Pre-Primary (C2) 5/9/2022
2022 Post-Primary (C3) 6/20/2022
2022 Pre-General (C4) 9/22/2022
2022 Pre-General (C5) 10/31/2022
2022 Post-General (C6) 12/12/2022
2022 Annual (C7) 2/1/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.