Pennsylvania Primary Results: Did Snow Play a Factor?

A few weeks ago, Pennsylvania's primary was doomed to see exceedingly low turnout after former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's exit from the presidential race. However, the pool of primary voters could be even more restricted due to uncharacteristic late-April snow that has been working its way through the central part of the state on Monday and Tuesday, and the storm may have a significant effect on two major primaries.

The first of these is the Republican Senate primary to challenge Sen. Bob Casey, in which the more-moderate Philadelphia-area entrepreneur Steve Welch is fighting hard with conservative coal executive Tom Smith. The strongest conservatives in Pennsylvania are in the central part of the state, and if the snow keeps these central-Pennsylvania conservatives at home, the voting may swing in Welch's favor.

The other race in which the snow could play a part is that of my home district and party: the Democratic primary for the newly-redrawn 12th congressional district. This district stretches from the Ohio-Pennsylvania border into the south-central part of the state, and includes the northern suburbs of Pittsburgh.  The race is a face-off between two moderate incumbent Representatives: Jason Altmire and Mark Critz. Polls show that Rep. Altmire has a small lead, but Rep. Critz's greatest support comes from the eastern, more-mountainous part of the district (1), which has seen much more snow than points farther west, and if the weather keeps these voters at home, the race could definitively swing in Rep. Altmire's favor.

We won't know until later on Tuesday whether the snow/rain or lack thereof had a significant effect on these races, but I'm sure that like the Postal Service, none of these candidates will let the weather stop them.

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Michael Tracht

Michael Tracht is a student at the New York University School of Law, and holds a B.A. from the University of Chicago. He has experience in environmental organizing and campaign finance. During college, he was a Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment with the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network.

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