Updated: Jan 12
In three days from today, November 8th, the general elections will be held to decide senators, governors, and house representatives in all 50 states. In some states the winner can already be assumed, but in Pennsylvania, nothing is certain. For Pennsylvania Senator, Democrat John Fetterman is running against Republican Mehmet Oz. The candidates for Governor are Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Doug Mastriano.
As former mayor and Lieutenant Governor, Fetterman has been campaigning for Senator. As a Pennsylvania native, John hopes to serve his state. He believes in the power of a second chance, and would like to make reforms to the legal system such as diversion programs for nonviolent offenders. He is pro-choice and has commented that he will do anything to protect female rights. Furthermore, he wants to end the war on drugs and make weed legal in Pennsylvania. As a former elected official, he was the first to solemnize same-sex weddings and stands with LGBTQIA+ communities. Finally, he supports universal healthcare and will work towards that goal.
On the opposing side is Oz, formally known as the tv host from the award-winning “The Dr. Oz Show”. As a father and a grandfather, he hopes his family can play a large role in his position as Senator. Oz believes in giving law enforcement a powerful voice in government. He is a proud gun owner and will fight any attempt to restrict guns in Pennsylvania. As a former doctor he has created many medical devices and hopes that healthcare can be modernized to be more affordable. Finally, he would like to stop illegal immigrants from entering the United States.
Currently, the race is extremely close. According to a study done by Emerson College and The Hill, on November 3rd, Oz was leading in the polls with 47.6% of the vote compared to Fetterman’s 45.8%. In a similar study in September, Fetterman had 48% of the vote and Oz 44%. This sway of voters could be attributed to Fetterman’s recent performance during the debate. In the same study, 44% of people responded that the debate improved their opinion of Oz. It will be uncertain until November 8th who will be the winner.
For the second main race on the ballot, Governor, Shapiro is the Democratic candidate. As a former public servant and People’s Attorney General, Shapiro hopes to tackle Pennsylvania’s biggest challenges. He believes that abortion is healthcare, and will fight to protect that right. Shapiro is working to curb gun violence by focusing on ending illegal gun trafficking. He would like to invest in public safety while pursuing smart criminal justice reform– and add more officers to the police force. Furthermore, he will support the growth of small businesses. In terms of education, Shapiro wants to add two parents to the state board of education and implement a mental health counselor at all Pennsylvania schools.
Against Shapiro is Mastriano, the Republican candidate for Governor. Mastriano is a combat veteran and former director of NATO’s Joint Intelligence Center in Afghanistan. He believes in increasing funding to the police and keeping criminals behind bars. He plans to lower the tax burden by abolishing property tax. Moreover, he supports school choice, but believes in banning critical race theory and gender studies. He has stated that he will sign the Heartbeat Bill which will eliminate the option for abortions if a heartbeat is found.
Currently, the polls are showing Shapiro with a lofty lead. He has 51.7% of the vote while Mastriano is polling 40.7%. The race for Governor is easier to discern the winner, as it is already evident who Pennsylvania wants as their representative.
No matter the candidate who is in the lead or wins, all Pennsylvania residents should exercise their right to vote. For those who are not old enough to register, it is their duty to encourage adults to vote. Each vote does make a difference, and in races as close as these, your voice is impactful.