The junior senator is a Republican and the party holds 13 of 18 congressional seats. Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the state elects as many Republican as Democratic governors. Pennsylvania’s population is 84 percent white and has the fourth highest percentage of residents over 65. Wide parts of the state are rural and reliably Republican. The western area has remade itself with the discovery and development of the Marcellus Shale gas patch. Pictures of closed and shuttered steel mills document Pennsylvania’s past, not its future.
The Pennsylvania Democratic Party is in disarray. The controversy centers on former rising star and Attorney General Kathleen Kane, who faces charges of leaking confidential grand jury testimony, obstruction of justice and perjury. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently revoked her law license, making her the only state AG in the country unable to try her own department’s cases. Yet she has not ruled out a bid for re-election next year.
State Democrats are also reeling from corruption cases pursued against the former Democratic state treasurer, sitting members of the state House, and the recent corruption conviction of a Philadelphia congressman.
So, if the GOP is going to break its six-election presidential losing streak in Pennsylvania, this would be the year to do it.