2014 Pennsylvania Primary Elections Coverage

York businessman Tom Wolf during a Democratic gubernatorial candidates forum  Feb. 4  in Philadelphia.  (Jacqueline Larma/AP Photo)
May 13, 2014 | LISTEN

Wolf doesn't intend to go negative in Pa. race

With just a week left before the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Pennsylvania, all eyes are on Tom Wolf. 

Roxborough voters have an interesting backdrop as they hit the polls at Ladder 30. (Bas Slabbers/for NewsWorks)
May 20, 2014 | PA. ELECTION DAY BLOG

Voting is light in Pa. primaries, but conflicts still flare in Philly [photos]

Months of candidate strategizing and fundraising get put to the test today as voters conduct the one poll that actually counts: the Pennsylvania primary elections. Follow the story here all day.

Update 4:29 p.m.  Civic duty draws life-long voters out to the polls, despite light numbers and shenanigans reported in some areas.  WHYY/NewsWorks reporter Elizabeth Fiedler visited some voting locations out in Jenkintown this afternoon.

Standing outside the polling place at Jenkintown High, Careleton Schwager said, "I'm particularly hoping that Valerie Arkoosh gets in because I like to see women in politics."  Schwager says voting is a civic duty, "If you listen to the news and what goes on in the world you have to realize how fortunate we are to be able to vote. And I certainly have done it I think ever since I was 21." That includes primary elections.

Jenkintown resident Bob Rohde and his wife came out to vote at Jenkintown High School. He says, "I can't imagine not voting."

His wife, Mary Kay Rohde says, "It's a civic duty. How can you complain when you haven't made a statement about who you think should be running the government and what should be done?" Rohde voted for Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz for Governor. "I like what she had done in Congress…sorry to lose her"

Bob Rohde says of top concern for him in this election, are the races for Governor and Congress. "They're all good people. It was a very difficult choice therefore." Rohde says he will support whoever wins the Democratic nomination, even if it's not the candidate he voted for because he's eager not to see Corbett re-elected. "I've already told friends, the day after the election - whoever wins the [Democratic] race for Governor is gonna get a check from me." He says he is concerned by Corbett's education funding.

Update 2:59 p.m.  Turnout remains uninspiring during the Pennsylvania primaries today, but that has not quelled all controversy about Election Day shenanigans in Philadelphia.

Dissident Democratic committee candidates in Roxborough's 21st Ward were upset by a court order saying that some of their campaign materials posted near polling places had to be taken down. They suspected the hand of 21st Ward leader Lou Agre, whose control of the ward they are challenging.

Turns out the court order is real, signed by Philadelphia Commons Pleas Judge George Overton.   An election court employee confirmed the legitimacy of the order to WHYY/NewsWorks reporter Elizabeth Fiedler this afternoon.

Joe Driscoll, one of the dissident candidates, called the judge's order "ridiculous."  The text of the order does not explain the reasoning behind it, but Driscoll said he understood the claim to be that the materials were printed by a political action committee that was not registered in Philadelphia.   He said that he's contacted a lawyer to challenge the ruling, and in the meantime is getting the materials reprinted.

We're running down other allegations of polling place irregularities and will report on them here once we have facts nailed down.

11:27 a.m.   Voter turnout was light at Philadelphia polling places this morning.

WHYY/NewsWorks reporter Elizabeth Fiedler toured some voting locations in the Second Senate District, which has one of the more competitive state legislative races in the region. 

The Rev. Israel Alfaro, a volunteer for state Rep. Angel Cruz, said things were slow this morning at the Congreso polling place at American and Somerset. 

"A primary, not too many people come out in the day. I'm waiting on the evening," he said. He says the neighborhood faces typical challenges including drugs and crime. "It's like everywhere in this neighborhood."

Donald Briggs voted at the Somerset Villas polling place: "I'm just trying to support the local Committee person, try to change the neighborhood.  It's hard times but we're going to overcome."

He is a volunteer for state Sen. Tina Tartaglione, being challenged in the primary by a candidate backed by union power broker John "Johnny Doc" Dougherty.

Also, this reminder for independent voters in Philadelphia. Even though the Democratic and Republican parties are holding primary elections that are restricted to their registered voters, independents have a right to vote on ballot questions and on the special election for the at-large Council seat to replace Bill Green Jr., who left Council to lead the School Reform Commission.  Candidates in that election are Democrat Ed Neilson, Republican Matt Wolfe and Libertarian Nikki Allen Poe.

A NewsWorks web producer who tried to vote this morning at a South Philadelphia polling place was told by "the very nice ladies" at the table that she couldn't vote because she was "unaffiliated."

She stood her ground (if you knew her, you would not be surprised) and explained that she wanted to vote in the special Council seat election. 

Happy ending: She got to cast her ballot.

Moral of the tale for Philadelphia independents: Know the rules, know your rights and insist on being able to vote on the ballot questions and the Council election.

10:23 a.m.  Asian-American voters in Philadelphia are not thrilled with what they see as a lack of response to their complaints from the City Commission about lack of help for them at Philadelphia pollings places.

This became a major Election Day polling place theme during the 2012 election.

Check out this report by Emma Jacobs of WHYY/NewsWorks.

9:48 a.m. Months of candidate strategizing and fundraising get put to the test today as voters conduct the one poll that actually counts: the Pennsylvania primary elections.

Check back here through the day and night for updates on the situation at the polls, turnout reports, then after polls close at 8 p.m., the election results.  Also, beginning at 8 p.m., listen to our live election reports on WHYY-FM, hosted by Dave Heller with senior writer Dave Davies providing analysis.

Unsure where to vote?  In Philadelphia, the Committee of Seventy watchdog group has a convenient guide to help you find your polling place.  In the suburbs, use the Pennsylvania voter services site.

If you're an independent and live in Philadelphia, you can still vote today on several ballot questions, including one that would end the "resign to run for new office" rule for Philadelphia elected officials and one that would increase minimum wage for employees of city subcontractors, particularly at the airport.

Scenes from the polls

In Philadelphia's Roxborough section, Dave Henderson is a rarity: A Democrat challenging a Democratic incumbent.   He's challenging state Rep. Pam DeLissio for the 194th District seat.

Henderson's first stop of the morning was Roxborough High School, from which he graduated in 2003.

"We're hoping for a good turnout, we're hoping for everyone to get out there and vote," he said.

DeLissio, seeking a third term, survived a court challenge to her candidacy.  Some voters questioned her residency in the district, because she'd changed her driver's license and other documents to her Harrisburg address.

Here's what's at stake today

In our region, Democrats have the most high-profile race with a four-way primary for the right to challenge Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in the fall. 

While longtime Philadelphia-area Rep. Allyson Schwartz was an early front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination, York businessman Tom Wolf has surged to a lead in the polls, fueled by ads bankrolled by at least $6 million of his own money.  Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord has also struggled to overcome Wolf's lead, despite having won election to a statewide post.  Former Department of Environmental Protection secretary Katie McGinty has been a distant fourth place in the polls.

Corbett did have a challenger in Ardmore businessman Bob Guzzardi, but a judge ruled the challenger had not filed protocols for submitting all the paperwork necessary to get on the ballot and ruled Guzzardi should not be in the GOP primary.  With Guzzardi no longer a threat, the Corbett campaign has been producing ads attacking Tom Wolf, even before the primaries are done.

The Democrats running for Schwartz's seat in Congress (Pennsylvania's 13th District, covering much of Montgomery County and Northeast Philadelphia) are locked in a tight contest.  The race includes Marjorie Margolies — who held the seat two decades ago, only to be bounced from office partially because of an unpopular vote in favor of then-President Bill Clinton's budget. However she's been helped out by both Hillary and Bill Clinton in the campaign, which is the the family thing to do, since Margolies' son is married to Chelsea Clinton.

Sen. Daylin Leach, who represents parts of Delaware and Montgomery Counties and proudly refers to himself as the "liberal lion" of the Pennsylvania Senate, is touting his endorsements from teachers unions and national progressive groups. First-time candidate Dr. Valerie Arkoosh is running on her role advocating for national healthcare legislation. Rep. Brendan Boyle of Philadelphia has been campaigning as a rowhouse populist, criticizing all his opponents as "millionaires," though he has managed to drop $100,000 of his own money into his campaign.

There are many other state legislative races worth watching, such as whether indicted state Sen. LeAnna Washington, who serves parts of Philadelphia and Montgomery County, will win the nomination again despite being charged with using her legislative staff for political fundraising duties. Two other Democrats are trying to beat Washington for the nomination. Rep. J.P. Miranda is accused of setting up a ghost employee on his staff so he could funnel money to his sister, who would have been barred from working there because of nepotism rules. He has three challengers.

Voter Nikesha Channel steps out of the booth with daughters Jazmeen Hughes, 6, center, and Jada Burgess, 5, back, after voting in Pennsylvania's primary election in 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
May 19, 2014 | News Analysis

As Democratic Party frays, Philly primaries get more interesting

Philadelphia has long been thought of as anti-choice  in the electoral sense, that is. It's a one-party town, and many city Democrats running for the General Assembly also don't face opposition in primary elections.

So it will likely come as a surprise to Philadelphia voters that they'll have more options at the polls Tuesday than in past years.

Small business owner Shaugnessy Naughton (left) and former Army Ranger Kevin Strouse face off in the Democratic primary in the 8th Congressional District. (Naughton image by Emma Lee/WHYY, Strouse image via KevinStrouse.com)
May 19, 2014

Scientist, combat veteran compete for Democratic nod in Pa.'s 8th District

In the Philadelphia suburbs, two political newcomers say they're ready to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick.

The Democrats are competing to represent residents of Bucks and Montgomery counties in the 8th District.

May 16, 2014

Election 2014: a news special covering the Pennsylvania primary

Hosted by WHYY's senior political reporter, Dave Davies, this special takes a statewide look at the Pennsylvania primary election coming up on May 20. It's a collaboration of WITF in Harrisburg, WPSU in State College, WESA in Pittsburgh and WHYY in Philadelphia.

Democrat and state Rep. Ed Neilson (left), Republican Matt Wolfe (center), and Libertarian Nikki Allen Poe (right) are running for Philadelphia's open Council At-Large seat (NewsWorks Photo)
May 15, 2014

Primary day in Philly includes a special election for City Council

A Democrat, a Republican and a Libertarian are each running in a special election for an at-large representative to City Council.

In the Tuesday primary election, Philadelphia voters will have the chance to decide whether to change the city charter and end the 'resign to run' rule. (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)
May 14, 2014

Proposal to strike Philly's 'resign to run' mandate goes to voters

Philadelphia voters will have the chance to decide whether to allow an exclusive club of city employees some new flexibility when it comes to running for public office. 

Mike Stack, a Philadelphia state senator since 2001 and a candidate for Lt. Governor (Image via SenatorStack.com)
May 14, 2014

Five vie to be Dems' choice for Pa. lieutenant governor

One of the benefits of the relative anonymity of the lieutenant governor slot, is that all five Democratic candidates have different ideas of what the position should entail.

Quetcy Lozada is challenging state Rep. Angel Cruz in Pennsylvania's 180th District. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
May 14, 2014

With primary slate aiming for Pa. House, Quiñones-Sánchez poised as Philly powerbroker

You won't find City Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez's name on the Tuesday primary ballot, but a careful reading suggests she's trying to expand her political reach.

May 6, 2014 | LISTEN

Where do Dem candidates for Pa. governor stand on education?

Polls are showing that education is the hands-down most important issue for voters heading to the polls on May 20, and the candidates are offering up a variety of ideas in their education platforms. All four want to abolish the SRC, increase early childhood education programs, enact tougher reforms on the charter school sector, and re-evaluate the formula for distributing state aid. They also have specific proposals that set them apart from one another.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation has six drill rigs running in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.  This rig is the most recent as of October 2013 in Kingsley, Pa.   (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)
April 29, 2014 | LISTEN

Where do Dem candidates for Pa. governor stand on energy, fracking?

Pennsylvania remains the only drilling state that doesn't tax the drillers. As budget deficits sap public education, all four Democrats facing off in the May 20 gubernatorial primary see revenue generated by "fracking" as a way to fund teacher salaries and classroom upgrades, though they differ in exactly what they'd charge the gas companies.

The correctional complex on State Road in Philadelphia. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks)
April 22, 2014 | LISTEN

Where do Dem candidates for Pa. governor stand on crime, prisons, and marijuana?

Criminal justice isn't one of the top issues for Democrats running in this years gubernatorial primary in Pennsylvania, but that's not to say the four candidates are avoiding the subject altogether. And given that there are tens of thousands of people in the state's prison system, small policy differences can have a large impact on people's lives.

Hospital workers move a patient to surgery. (Image courtesy of <a href='http://www.shutterstock.com/pic.mhtml?id=145175149&src=p-146811386-2'>ShutterStock.com</a>)
May 14, 2014 | LISTEN

Where do candidates for Pa. governor stand on Obamacare and Medicaid?

Pennsylvania's gubernatorial primary is Tuesday.  In recent weeks, our beat reporters have been taking a look at what sets each of the four Democratic candidates apart on some of the issues they cover.

Rob McCord enters the race for Pennsylvania governor. (Emma Lee/for NewsWorks)
May 5, 2014 | Listen

Does McCord's racially charged ad go too far?

Pennsylvania state Treasurer Rob McCord made a bold move, ferociously attacking campaign front-runne, Tom Wolf. In his attempt to take Wolf down in a hurry with a take-no-prisoners television ad, McCord felt some blowback. WHYY's senior reporter Dave Davies spoke with McCord about the racially charged attack ad.

Katie McGinty is one of four Democratic candidates looking to run against Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett.  (Lindsay Lazarski/WHYY)
May 7, 2014 | Listen

Despite lagging poll numbers, Katie McGinty says don't count her out of Pa. gov's race

McGinty, who served as deputy assistant to President Clinton, went on to chair the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In 2003, she was tapped by then Gov. Ed Rendell to head the DEP. WHYY's senior reporter Dave Davies spoke with McGinty about her run for governor.

U.S. Rep Allyson Schwartz during a Democratic gubernatorial candidates forum Tuesday Feb. 4, 2014  in Philadelphia.  (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)
May 6, 2014 | Listen

Schwartz defends attack on Wolf's business background

Former Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz left her relatively safe seat in the 13th Congressional District to seek the Pa. governorship. She's represented Northeast Philadelphia and part of Montgomery County for the past decade. WHYY's Dave Davies spoke with her about her record, the race, and her recent ad targeting Tom Wolf's business history.

Democratic Challenger Tom Wolf will face Gov. Tom Corbett in November. The race is already heating up. (AP Photos by  Matt Rourke (left panel) and Keith Srakocic)
May 21, 2014

Corbett already Wolf hunting as gov's race gets under way

Wolf vs. Corbett — will it get ugly?

It already has.

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