That was fast: The 2016 Pennsylvania Primary is only five days away. Who are you going to vote for? Who’s even running?
It can be tough to get a grip, given the amount of names and positions that will be on Tuesday’s ballot. We’ll give you a quick refresher on the presidential race as it pertains to Pennsylvania (local visits, state polling numbers etc.). For everything else, we’ve got you covered, from US Senate and US Congress races to state House and state Senate races to the weird delegate thing to Attorney General.
Here is the procrastinator’s guide to 2016 Pennsylvania Primary.
Your polling place
This is easy. You can find it here. They’ll be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Pennsylvania visits: He’s been here a lot, including in Philadelphia earlier this week, where he said he would fight ISIS and, oddly, compared himself to Bernie Sanders. He spoke earlier this month in front of a gathering of major conservatives in Harrisburg, and they treated him like a rockstar.
PolitiFact intel: More than half of his fact-checked statements have been false or mostly false.
April 21 poll standing: 2nd at 26 percent
Pennsylvania visits: Kasich has also been to Pennsylvania several times. He visited Villanova the day after the Ohio primary and was also in Harrisburg for the conservative summit. They didn’t like him as much.
PolitiFact intel: Almost 70 percent of Kasich’s fact-checked statements have been half-true or better, placing him lightyears ahead of Cruz and Trump in the truth-telling department.
April 21 poll standing: 3rd at 24 percent
Pennsylvania visits: Trump is making his first big campaign stop in Pennsylvania today in Harrisburg. He spoke at the Pennsylvania Society in December, though, where he talked a lot about his polls and then got interrupted by protesters.
PolitiFact intel: Only 2 percent of Trump’s fact-checked statements have been true and 60 percent have been false or pants on fire.
April 21 poll standing: 1st at 40 percent
Pennsylvania visits: Hillary has made a few stops to our state and has been in Philadelphia twice this month. Last night, she played the Fillmore in Fishtown, and people lined up hours before the event. She also addressed union members two weeks ago. This important part of the electorate appeared to be on her side more than Bernie’s. But she also screwed up in this speech by saying Villanova had a comeback victory against North Carolina.
PolitiFact intel: 71 percent of her fact-checked statements have been at least half-true.
April 21 poll standing: 1st, at 58 percent
Pennsylvania visits: Bernie’s rally at Temple included one of his most famous statements of the last several weeks. Cheered on by thousands of young people who waited in line all day, he said Clinton was unqualified to be president.
PolitiFact intel: He ranks similar to Hillary with 69 percent of his fact-checked statements at least half-true. None of his statements have been pants on fire.
April 21 poll standing: 2nd, at 31 percent
The US Senate
Three Democrats are vying for the opportunity to face Republican incumbent Pat Toomey in the general election. Toomey has no primary opponent.
Background: Has served as the mayor of Braddock, in Western Pennsylvania, since 2005.
The gist: Fetterman is the Bernie Sanders of Pennsylvania’s US Senate race. He’s loved by younger voters and has appeared at places like Frankford Hall, Interstate Drafthouse and Bob and Barbara’s. Fetterman supports legalizing pot, increasing the minimum wage to $15 and reversing trade policies like NAFTA. The difference is Sanders’ grassroots movement has grown to be widespread. Fetterman remains far behind his two opponents. He was polling at 4 percent in a recent Monmouth poll. Barring a miracle on Tuesday, Fetterman is unlikely to win this position. That doesn’t mean his political future isn’t bright. Fetterman is seen as a rising star.
Background: Pennsylvania EPA head under Governor Ed Rendell, lead of the White House Council on Environmental Quality under Bill Clinton, Chief of Staff to Governor Tom Wolf
The gist: The Democratic Party really wants McGinty, a native of Philly, to be a superstar. Barack Obama, Ed Rendell, Wolf and more party bigwigs have endorsed her in this race. Why? They like her family’s working class roots and her experience in Clinton’s administration. The problem is she’s only ran for political office once… and got trounced. McGinty finished last in the Democratic Primary for governor in 2014. After trailing Sestak for most of this race, a recent Monmouth poll showed them dead even. Her main issues are aimed toward pleasing working class families, such as raising the minimum wage to $15 and reinvesting in a skilled manufacturing workforce.
Background: U.S. Congressman from 2007 to 2011 and Navy admiral
The gist: Sestak is the anti-McGinty. The Democratic elite are leveraging big bucks to try and prevent him from winning this race. It’s a little weird because he won the US Senate Democratic Primary in 2010 and then nearly defeated Republican Pat Toomey in the general election. For this election, Sestak, a native of DelCo, doesn’t much care about the lack of love. He and his supporters believe the anti-establishment reputation will play well in the year of Trump and Bernie. Unlike McGinty or Fetterman, Sestak has foreign policy experience. He spent 31 years in the Navy, rising to 3-star admiral.
Basically everyone living east of Broad Street is in District 1, where Bob Brady is running unopposed as a Democrat and Deborah Williams is running unopposed as a Republican. So there’s no race.
But almost everyone living west of Broad Street, except for small parts of South and North Philly, is in District 2. There, residents get to vote in a competitive Democratic Primary for the first time in 20 years.
Background: State Rep. in Northwest Philly since 1981
The gist: Evans is challenging Chaka Fattah because of his indictment and has gained support from leaders like Mayor Jim Kenney and Governor Tom Wolf. His campaign has centered on improving life for middle and lower income Philadelphians as part of his “Plan for American Cities.” Some focuses of the plan include improved local infrastructure, more grocery stores for poorer neighborhoods and education.
Learn more: See his explanation of the issues in this year’s race.
Background: US Congressman for this District since 1995
The gist: It’s hard not to know about Fattah. He was indicted on federal racketeering and fraud charges last summer after a loooong (years!) investigation. Now he’s facing competition in a primary for the first time since his original election to this position. Despite the charges, Fattah has still enjoyed endorsements from the City Democratic Committee and unions. In the Capitol, he’s been a high-ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee and often touts his achievement of creating the College Opportunity Resources for Education program that has helped get thousands of area kids to college.
Learn more: Read our Q&A with Fattah from March.
Background: Lower Merion Township Commissioner since 2005
The gist: Gordon’s main focus has been creating equal opportunities for the district, which also includes the small slice of Lower Merion where lives and works. He’s pointed out the disproportionate amounts of money spent on students in that suburb versus Philadelphia.
Learn more: See his rundown of the top issues in the election.
Background: Longtime leader of the 9th Ward in Chestnut Hill
The gist: The past president of CeasfirePA, Muroff has made gun control a focal point of his campaign. Among other things, he wants national background checks and to eliminate high-capacity magazines. He’s also voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Though he doesn’t have the name recognition of Fattah or Evans, his 9th Ward is always among the leaders in turnout and could help him impact this race.
Learn more: Check out his priorities for the 2nd District.
Incumbent Kathleen Kane decided not to run for re-election, given the whole indictment thing. Two Republicans and three Democrats are vying for the spot. Kane was the first Democrat to ever hold the seat in Pennsylvania.
Background: Assistant deputy director for state and local affairs of the White House’s Drug Policy Office under George W. Bush and longtime employee of Pennsylvania’s Office of the Attorney General.
The gist: Peters is well-known in law enforcement circles around these parts, having prosecuted infamous Philly mobster “Little Nicky” Scarfo. Despite his years experience, the state Republican Party is not supporting him. He’s mainly running on that experience, as well as his ability to clean up the AG’s office. That ability has been called into question by his opponent, John Rafferty, because he was at one point Kathleen Kane’s spokesman.
Learn more: Read an editorial he authored for PennLive.
Background: State Senator in the 44th District since 2008, representing Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties.
The gist: Rafferty is an experienced politician and one of the most powerful Philly-area pols in Harrisburg. He’s the vice chairman of the judiciary committee and the chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. So it’s no surprise the state Republican Party is supporting him over the less politically-experienced Peters. Like Peters, he also worked in the AG’s office — albeit for only three years. Some of Rafferty’s past decisions go against the Republican grain, such as supporting unions and voting for a minor gun control bill.
Learn more: See Rafferty’s senate bio here.
Background: Northampton County district attorney since 1991.
The gist: Morganelli has run for attorney general before and even made it to the general election where he lost to Tom Corbett in 2010. He wants to create a drug trafficking and organized crime units in the AG’s office and decriminalize pot. But he’s also considered the most conservative of the three Democrats. INTRIGUE WATCH: He might not be a real candidate, if you believe John Fetterman. Fetterman said Morganelli is only in the race to support Stephen Zappala by leeching away votes away from Eastern Pennsylvania that would go to Josh Shapiro.
Learn more: Read about Morganelli’s detailed plans.
Background: Montgomery County Commissioner since 2012. State Rep for MontCo from 2005 to 2012.
The gist: Shapiro has been a political leader in Montgomery County for over a decade, but he’s never prosecuted anybody. His opponents have roundly criticized him for that lack of experience. For most Democrats, it’s no big deal, though. Barack Obama is one of many Dems supporting Shapiro’s candidacy. Some of his priorities, if he wins office, include tougher gun laws and better environmental protections, particularly going after frackers violating any “clean air” or “pure water” rights of Pennsylvanians.
Learn more: Read this Philly Mag profile.
Background: Allegheny County district attorney since 1998
The gist: Zappala has said he wants to reform the AG’s office and has ideas such as creating a unit focusing specifically on domestic violence. He’s also a big fan of cameras on law enforcement officials. He should get major support from Western Pennsylvania. Whether it will be enough to topple Josh Shapiro’s support in Philly and the ‘burbs is the question. One man helping him is union boss John Dougherty. And not surprisingly, Dougherty’s endorsement led to an endorsement from Philly Mayor Jim Kenney.
Learn more: Read the Post-Gazette’s article about the announcement of his candidacy.
Pennsylvania’s slightly odd delegate rules add an extra wrinkle of fun to this election, especially if you’re a Republican.
Philadelphia Republican delegates are not tied to specific candidates, and voters will get the opportunity to vote for three in the District in which they reside. The 1st District (pretty much everything east of Broad Street) only has three candidates, so all three of those delegate candidates will become delegates. But the in the 2nd District (pretty much everything west of Broad Street) and 13th District (Northeast) there are several candidates vying for the three spots. Because they’re not tied to a certain candidate, you can’t really know for sure if they’ll support Ted Cruz, Donald Trump or John Kasich. This WHYY story has contacted many of the Republican delegate candidates to ask how they’re going to vote. So you may want to check it out if you’ll be voting Republican.
Democrats get to vote for up to 14 delegates, who have all pledged their support to Bernie or Hillary. So vote for the delegate who is tied to the presidential candidate you support.
All voters, even independents or third-party registrants, get to vote on the ballot questions. There are three for this election.
1. Should PA Supreme Court Justices be required to retire at age 75?
Currently, they’re required to retire at 70, so this would let them hold court for a while longer. Lately, there’s been a rash of early retirements because of porny email scandal.
2. Should Philadelphia Traffic Court be abolished?
Traffic Court has basically been in a coma since 2013, after a ticket-fixing scandal. Answering yes would be its official death.
3. Should Philadelphia create an independent commission on African-American males?
This group would consist of 30 mayoral appointees who would examine issues of importance to black males in Philadelphia.
There are two seats in the state Senate up for grabs on the Democratic side and none for Republicans. And actually, the 1st District seat might not even be contested anymore.
1st District (South Philly): John Morley vs. Larry Farnese
Farnese has held office since 2009 in this seat once held by Vince Fumo. And like Fumo, Farnese is now the target of law enforcement officials. Feds are looking at whether he paid a committee person $6,000 for his daughter’s study abroad trip with campaign money. Morley has run unsuccessfully as a Republican against him in the past. He might end up not being on the ballot, though. He was recently removed after a challenge and is appealing that decision.
5th District (Northeast): Kevin Boyle vs. John Sabatina
It’s old vs. new. The Boyle family has come of age as a new political dynasty, and the Sabatinas have been entrenched in Philly politics for a long time. Sabatina has held the seat since just last year when he took over for Michael Stack, the lieutenant governor. He was previously in the state House, where Boyle has been since 2010. Boyle’s biggest focus has been cracking down on negligent property owners, and he has also attempted introduce tougher gun control regulations. Winning this seat would be an extra accomplishment for Boyle because of a long-running feud he and his brother Brendan have with Stack.
There are no contested Republican primaries, so all of these highlighted races feature Democrats.
170th District (Northeast): Fran Nelms vs. Matthew Darragh
Nelms, 25, is a former aide to Brendan Boyle whose main priority is education. One of his goals is to get free tuition for Pennsylvanians at state universities. Darragh, 30, is a former intern of Mike Stack and worked for eight years in the office of the Auditor General. His main priorities are crime, seniors and school funding. The winner would face incumbent Republican Martina White in the general election.
175th District (River Wards): Sean Sullivan vs. Michael O’Brien
O’Brien has held this seat for five terms and is chair of the Subcommittee on Higher Education. Sullivan is a local attorney who among other priorities like education and LGBT rights wants to enact changes to campaign finance reform and end legislative perks.
181st District (No Libs and North Philly): Curtis Thomas vs. Kenneth Walker
182nd District (Center City): Ben Waxman vs. Brian Sims vs. Marni Snyder vs. Lou Lanni
These four candidates are running with similar platforms, focusing on education and LGBT and women’s rights. Snyder, a lawyer, is a political outsider with no previous experience. Lanni has run unsuccessfully for political positions before, including as a Republican. Waxman is an aide for state Sen. Vincent Hughes. Sims is the incumbent.
190th District (parts of North Philly and West Philly): Vanessa Brown vs. Wanda Logan vs. Ray Bailey vs. Movita Johnson-Harrell vs. Ted Smith vs. Darryl Thomas
Brown has represented this district since 2009 and was indicted in the infamous sting operation that led to several Philly public officials to resign. That’s probably why so many people are running against her. Logan has the most prominent name of Brown’s challengers, having run for the seat before.
192nd District (Northwest Philly): Steven Jones vs. Morgan Cephas vs. Jess Johnson vs. Edwin Santana vs. Lynwood Savage
This is a weird race. Lynwood Savage pretty much beat all these candidates in a special election held last month. Now, about six weeks later, they face him in the regular election. Cephas is a longtime aide to Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. and Edwin Santana is a well-known activist. But Savage is close to local Democratic party boss Bob Brady.
195th District (parts of North Philly and West Philly): Donna Bullock vs. Jamar Izzard vs. Jimmie Moore
Bullock, a former aide to Darrell Clarke, won this seat in a special election last August. Izzard is a former radio personality and former staffer of state Sen. Anthony Williams. Moore was on Philadelphia’s municipal court from 1990 to 2011.
200th District (Northwest Philly and Mount Airy): Tonyelle Cook-Artis vs. Chris Rabb vs. Bobby Curry
This is another weird election. Cook-Artis won this seat in a special election last month. She was the chief of staff for Cherelle Parker, who previously held this seat and is now on City Council. Rabb is an adjunct professor at Temple. Curry has run unsuccessfully for the seat before.