PA State Races: What You Need to Know

pa flagAs the Pennsylvania state races come to a close, there are a few key positions that are up for grabs. From Attorney General to Auditor, the race between democrats, republicans, incumbents and newcomers have been close. Here’s what you need to know about the state races so far:

State Auditor:

Democrat and incumbent Eugene DePasquale is up against Republican John Brown, Green Party candidate John J. Sweeney, and Libertarian Roy Minet. DePasquale is currently leading the polls with 50% of the vote.

DePasquale plans to build on his current term by finding more savings, while also creating more jobs. He vows to act on a follow-up audit for the Department of Environmental Protection. During his first term, his focus was on school districts including a hotline that dealt with suspected child abuse and municipal pension debt.

Brown’s main focus is strengthening state programs and agencies; however, he had made a statement about working with municipalities to develop plans to deal with other issues. On top of this he would watch over the governor’s spending plan.

Sweeney’s focus is on the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation and Turnpike Commission along with reviewing the General Assembly’s budget.

Minet’s main focus is government inefficiencies and shrinking government.

The auditor general oversees over 400 employees with a budget of over $50 million. The department audits state spending and reviews practices for state agencies and employees. Recent audits include higher education such as Penn State University.

This position is also viewed as a political springboard. The past 3 auditor generals have gone on to run for higher offices.

Attorney General:

The race for Pennsylvania Attorney General is between Democrat Josh D. Shapiro and Republican John Rafferty. Shapiro has a slight lead at the moment by a small margin of less than 4%.

Shapiro graduated from Georgetown University with a law degree, and was a State Representative from 2005 to 2012. As Attorney General, Shapiro aims to prosecute scammers of the elderly, as well as corrupt public officials. He looks to hold big businesses accountable for their actions and close loopholes involving illegal gun purchases. Shapiro said he will work to defend women’s and the LGBTQ community’s rights as well.

Senator John C. Rafferty Jr. received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown and his master’s degree from Beaver College. He earned his law degree from Temple University. He has served as Senator since 2003. Rafferty will focus on improving the Pennsylvania transportation system and lowering the burden of property taxes, as well protecting the environment and reducing health care costs

In August, Attorney General Kathleen Kane resigned from office due to a conviction on a felony perjury charge. She was replaced with Bruce Beemer.

State Treasurer:

Democrat Joseph Torsella leads the polls with just over 50% of the vote, putting him in front of Republican Otto Voit. Also on the ballot are Green Party Member Kristin Combs and Libertarian James Babb. The winner will take the spot from current Treasurer Timothy Reese, who has held the position since June 2105. The chief financial officer for the state, the treasurer manages oversees funding for the state of Pennsylvania.

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