Voters wait in line to cast their ballots on election day in Fairless Hills, Pa., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Matt Rourke/AP Photo)
Inside a northern York County restaurant called Boomerang, Bill Gramlich watched the election returns and felt stressed.
At one point, the crowd cheered — and he thought that meant the race had been called in favor of his candidate.
“Well, that was close,” Gramlich said.
“They didn’t call that,” his friend said.
“Well, why are you clapping? You’re misleading me,” Gramlich said. ““I’m going to have a heart attack.”
Gramlich, a 54-year-old construction contractor, described himself as a conservative. He supported U.S. Rep Scott Perry in the 10th Congressional district, which remained close as the night went on Tuesday evening.
“I thought that central Pennsylvania would maybe be a little more conservative than I’m seeing,” Gramlich said. “But I guess everybody has their own issues.”
Two years ago, Pennsylvania Republicans enjoyed election night.
The GOP nominees for president and U.S. Senate both won the state. And Republicans won 13 out of 18 Congressional seats.
But this year, the Republican candidates for governor and U.S. senate trailed in the polls by double-digits against the Democratic incumbents.
And a new map of Congressional districts from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court made several House races much friendlier to the Democrats. Ahead of Tuesday’s voting, forecasters gave Democrats and Republicans good odds of an even 9-9 split in Congress.
As election returns came in Tuesday evening, Democratic incumbents U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Gov. Tom Wolf were declared the winners relatively early. Several important congressional races took longer to call.
But shortly after 11 p.m., cheers erupted at Boomerang, as Perry announced that his Democratic opponent had conceded.
Just after midnight, the Associated Press called the last of Pennsylvania’s congressional races: nine seats for Democrats and nine for Republicans.
Republican Congressman Lou Barletta challenged Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., who was first elected in 2006.
Green Party candidate Neal Gale and Libertarian Dale R. Kerns Jr. were also on the ballot.
The Associated Press called the race in favor of Casey.
Republican Scott Wagner, a former state senator, challenged Democratic incumbent Tom Wolf. Both are wealthy businessman from York County.
Wagner’s running mate late for lieutenant governor was Jeff Bartos. John Fetterman was Wolf’s running mate.
Also on the ballot: Green Party candidate Paul Glover, Libertarian Ken V. Krawchuk and their respective running mates.
Candidate for Pennsylvania’s 1st Congressional District Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., gestures after casting his ballot in Langhorne, Pa., Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)
This election, Republicans were mostly playing defense when it comes to Congressional seats in Pennsylvania. And Democrats targeted a number of seats for a pick-up. Here’s a look at some of the key ones. PA Post will be adding information about more races as the night goes on.
The candidates: Democrat Scott Wallace, a wealthy philanthropist, challenged Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick is a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor.
During the campaign, Fitzpatrick emphasized moderate positions he’s taken, such as opposing repeal of the Affordable Care Act and supporting increased gun restrictions. At one debate, he even told Wallace not to say the word “Republican.” Wallace linked Fitzpatrick to Republican President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The Associated Press called the race for Fitzpatrick.
The district: Bucks County and part of Montgomery County
The candidates: Democrat George Scott, an Army veteran and Lutheran minister, challenged U.S. Rep. Scott Perry. Perry, a former state lawmaker, was first elected to Congress in 2012. Perry is an Iraq war veteran who was promoted to brigadier general in the Army National Guard in 2015.
The Associated Press called the race for Perry.
The seat leaning toward Dems
The candidates: Democrat Susan Wild, the former solicitor for Allentown city; Republican Marty Nothstein, a Lehigh County commissioner and an Olympic gold medalist for cycling; and Libertarian Tim Silfies. All three were running for an open seat, following the resignation of former U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, a Republican.
The Associated Press called the race for Wild.
The district: Lehigh and Northampton counties, plus part of Monroe County
The seat leaning toward Republicans
The candidates: Republican Mike Kelly, whose family has a long history in the car dealership business, was first elected to Congress in 2010. Democrat Ron DiNicola, a Marine veteran and attorney, challenged him.
A third candidate, Libertarian Ebert Beeman, was also on the ballot.
The Associated Press called the race for Kelly.
The district: Crawford, Erie, Lawrence and Mercer counties, plus part of Butler County
A reach for Democrats
The candidates: U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, who was first elected in 2016; and Democrat Jess King.
“This campaign has always been about you,” Smucker told a crowd of supporters gathered Tuesday night at election party in Manheim, Lancaster County. “Not more government, not more Washington, not more empowering bureaucrats to make decisions for you. A vision of individual responsibly and personal freedom. That was our promise in 2016.”
The Associated Press called the race for Smucker.
The district: Lancaster County, plus part of York County.