ShareThis Page
Westmoreland

Westmoreland voter turnout reaches nearly 60 percent

Rich Cholodofsky
| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, 5:48 p.m.

Long lines at polling precincts throughout Westmoreland County on Tuesday resulted in voter turnout that reached nearly 60 percent, eclipsing typical midterm elections and sparking anticipation for next year’s local elections.

The 59.4 percent turnout reported by the county’s elections bureau was the highest seen in nonpresidential year polling in recent memory, resulting in big wins for Republicans.

GOP candidates won all but one contested race on county ballots in a continuation of voting trends that has seen Republicans solidify their hold on state and federal elected seats in Westmoreland County. While Democrats Tom Wolf and Bob Casey won re-election for governor and U.S. Senate respectively, both lost convincingly in Westmoreland County.

Republican candidates won easily in the county’s two Congressional races and the contested races for state House of Representatives.

“It’s just a matter of figuring out the issues that brought people out to the polls,” Westmoreland County Republican Committee Chairman Kerry Jobe said about applying Tuesday’s results to the upcoming 2019 elections.

Turnout in Westmoreland County also topped unofficial state totals, where it was estimated about 56 percent of the more than 8.6 million registered voters cast ballots in Pennsylvania. In Allegheny County, unofficial results put turnout at 57 percent.

Officials expect turnout next year — when voters elect county commissioners and row officers, including sheriff and county controller, as well as borough and city councils, township supervisors and school boards — won’t reach the same high levels.

Turnout for municipal elections four years ago was about 30 percent; Democrats reclaimed a majority on the board of county commissioners.

Jobe said Tuesday’s turnout and results are good indicators for Republican successes next year.

“It will be a very candidate-centric election and maybe not focus on national issues. But, President Trump running in 2020 could get people to the polls in late 2019,” Jobe said, noting the large local support for the GOP gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates. “We still won Westmoreland County and that’s a good sign for Republicans going into next year.”

Democrats said even without wins this year, there are reasons for optimism moving forward.

Congressional candidate Bibiana Boerio, who was soundly defeated by Republican Guy Reschenthaler in a district that includes two-thirds of Westmoreland County, actually received a substantially higher percentage of the vote, 42 percent, than Hillary Clinton did in the 2016 presidential election, when she garnered just 33 percent.

Paul Adams, vice chairman of the county’s Democratic Committee, said Boerio’s performance is reason to believe Democrats are making gains in the county.

“We have to keep that momentum but we have to look at the bigger picture more. Republicans became dominate over decades and we can’t undo all that in just two elections,” Adams said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me