A LOOK at the winners and losers from last Tuesday's election:
WINNER: The Pennsylvania Democratic Party, which saw a sweep on the top-of-the-ticket races – President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, Attorney General Kathleen Kane, Treasurer Rob McCord and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. The party also picked up three seats in the state Senate, the most by one party since the Civil War.
LOSER: The Pennsylvania Republican Party, which not only saw losses at the top of the ballot and the state Senate seats, but also saw some challengers they backed financially for state House seats, such as Aaron Kaufer locally in the 120th District, lose.
WINNER: Women, both in the Keystone State and in other states. Kathleen Kane, of Waverly Township, Lackawanna County, became the first woman ever elected attorney general in Pennsylvania (and the first Democrat, too). In the U.S. Senate, five women were newly elected including Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Deb Fischer of Nebraska, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. And in New Hampshire, the state now has women in power as governor, both of its U.S. senators and both of its representatives in the U.S. House. There are now 20 women serving as U.S. senators.
LOSER: The Tea Party. Many of the party's big names on the ballot this year lost including Tom Smith, who was vying to unseat Casey in the U.S. Senate. In a local congressional race for the 17th District, Laureen Cummings, founder of the Scranton Tea Party, lost to Democrat Matt Cartwright. Nationally, the group saw favorites Richard Mourdock in Indiana and Todd Akin in Missouri, both of whom had insensitive comments on abortion come back to haunt them, lose bids for Senate seats. In the House, incumbents Joe Walsh in Illinois and Allen West in Florida were handed defeats.
WINNER: Local incumbents in the state Legislature. None of the current state Senate or House members lost their re-election bids on Tuesday. Republican Rep. Tarah Toohil, and Democrats Rep. Phyllis Mundy, Rep. Mike Carroll and Rep. Gerald Mullery held off challengers while Democrats Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski and Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich and Republicans Rep. Karen Boback and Sen. John Gordner were unopposed.
LOSER: Gov. Tom Corbett. His personally backed candidate for U.S. Senate, Steve Welch, couldn't win the GOP primary. His backed candidate for attorney general, Cumberland County D.A. David Freed, also lost. He now has an attorney general-elect who has pledged to look into the way the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse investigation was handled (Corbett was attorney general at the time it was launched) and several row officers from the opposite party.
Oh, yeah, and he has an election coming up in two years for which he has to start preparing.
WINNER: GOP governors Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal, Susana Martinez and Nikki Haley and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio – each of whom chose not to run this year for president. Each is popular and will be viewed as a potential frontrunner in 2016.
They won't have to go up against an incumbent, as President Obama will be term limited, meaning the path to the White House might be a bit easier for the GOP candidate.
LOSER: Susquehanna Polling & Research. As the election neared, poll after poll showed both President Obama and Sen. Casey with comfortable, though shrinking, leads over Romney and Smith respectively. But Susquehanna's last poll, conducted Oct. 29-31 for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review found Obama and Romney tied at 47 percent and Casey leading Smith 46 percent to 45 percent, with a margin of error of 3.46 percentage points. Obama won 52-47 and Casey won 54-45. On Friday, state Democratic Party Chairman Jim Burn sent a letter to news media outlets urging them to reconsider using Susquehanna Polling & Research for future elections and to not report on its polls anymore.
WINNER: State Rep. Tarah Toohil, who secured her second term with a lopsided victory over fellow Butler Township resident Ransom Young. Her campaign spent only about $50,000 this year on the race. In 2010, when she successfully took out incumbent – and House Majority Leader – Todd Eachus, the campaign spent more than $86,000.
LOSER: State Rep. Tarah Toohil, who saw her reputation dragged through the mud as photographs of her in compromising situations were leaked and turned into both a YouTube video and then a campaign advertisement used against her. The video of compiled still photos depicted drugs, drug paraphernalia and a younger Toohil seemingly about to lock lips with another woman.
While she never addressed whether she did drugs, Toohil issued an anti-drug video, using state House Republican funds, to tell constituents that drugs are bad and claimed she isn't the same person today that was shown in those photos.
Andrew M. Seder, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 829-7269 or via email at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @TLAndrewSeder.