Senate page     May 18

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Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, Hey Hey, Goodbye

It was a heck of a Tuesday for politics watchers, with dozens of high-profile races on the ballot in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Oregon, Idaho, and Kentucky. Some stars continued their rise, while others came crashing to the ground (at least for now). Let's get right to it:

U.S. Senate U.S. House Governors Other Storylines

In case you're wondering: The Doobie Brothers, Public Enemy, Jefferson Starship, the Who, Dire Straits, and the Beastie Boys.

That's what we've got for now; undoubtedly other storylines will shake out once there's been time to examine the results more closely, and once the final totals are in. And then, next week, it's Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia. (Z)

Guest Columnist: On the Front Lines in Pennsylvania

We are, for reasons that will be made clear, running guest columns each day this week. Today, we intended to run a de facto counterpoint to the anti-Roe piece from yesterday. However, this report from the field makes more sense today. We'll get to the counterpoint tomorrow.

This comes from reader J.F. in East Allen, PA, who served as a volunteer poll worker in east-central Pennsylvania yesterday, about 70 miles north of Philadelphia. Take it away, J.F.:

It was as beautiful a day as eastern Pennsylvania is capable of, 72 degrees of breezy sunshine. East Allen (East) is a pretty white, Republican district to begin with, and tonight I was sad that out of 478 votes cast, I saw only 13 people of color.

I also saw about an 80/20 split Republican/Democrat. Not sure if that's "average" or not for this district, since this was my first time working. The polling place is located in, literally, a trailer park. A nice one, but a trailer park nonetheless, called "Greenbriar Estates." I was astounded by how many of the residents of the actual trailer park were voting against their own economic interests (in my view, of course).

There was definite "anger in the air" towards the Biden/Harris administration in general, and Joe Biden in particular. I heard nary a single comment from anyone, at any time, about a reason they were voting for any candidate. I heard many a comment about why they were voting against various candidates, however.

I also had the impression that many people who were there to vote were following instructions. Other experienced poll workers, both at my precinct but also while chatting in line turning in documentation, remarked how "newbie" a lot of the turnout seemed to be, and that many had detailed notes on whom to vote for. "Assistance requests" in the booth for those needing assistance from others to complete their ballot were also higher than usual—we twice ran out of the forms and needed a runner from the courthouse (seriously) to deliver more.

As far as turnout, the 478 ballots cast were out of 1895 registered voters. A dozen or so were voters who turned out only to vote on a referendum question, and were not major-party affiliated, so had no primary to vote on. The rest, as I said, were at least 80/20 in favor of the Republicans.

Three of us were noobs, the other was an experienced worker from prior elections who said the Biden/Trump election was "the most turnout this district has ever seen"—499 voters. So, we came very close to that, and in an off-year, primary election.

However red the district is, though, I will say that there was not a MAGA hat or rude T-shirt in evidence at any time; I saw one QAnon hat ("WWG1WGA") and a "Let's Go Brandon" hat but otherwise everyone followed the "no political statements on clothing" rules. So red we may be, but rule followers too. I'm not saying that's good. It's basically lawful evil, in my view. I also consider the "owning the libs is the most important thing" crowd to be chaotic evil, which is like, the worst of all alignments.

John Fetterman beat Conor Lamb by about 3:1 on the Democratic side. On the Republican side, Mehmet Oz beat Teresa Barnette by about 12 points, with David McCormick 12 points further back. Doug Mastriano beat Lou Barletta 2:1. These are rough numbers.

Finally, the most pissing and moaning—er, carping and criticizing, that is—about anything was that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania does not require a photo (or any) ID to vote. At least two-thirds of people had something negative to say about this. I must have said some version of, "I understand how you feel, but it's your legislators that need to hear your thoughts, not us here, please," 100 times.

And that's all I can recall from notes taken as I slogged through the day. As a first time worker, I was apprehensive about a day that began at the polls at 6:00 a.m. and ended at the courthouse dropping everything off at 10:30 p.m., but it was a breeze. I had a nice time being part of it all and recommend it to anyone.

Thanks for your report, and for your service, J.F.!

We're up to about 4,000 words on the day, and non-election stories can be an awkward fit with election results. So, we're going to leave it there and get back to our more regular stuff tomorrow. (Z)

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