Know Who You’re Voting For This Election Day


Photo by Walker Kmetz ’25

This year, Election Day is on November 8th. For many Pennsylvanians, this is a crucial election, potentially determining the outcome of the Senate majority and the future of reproductive rights in Pennsylvania. Students interested in voting on this Election Day should make sure they are registered to vote. 


U.S. Senate: John Fetterman (D) vs. Mehmet Oz(R)

At the state-wide scale, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate, and Dr. Mehmet Oz, the Republican candidate, are running for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat, as incumbent Republican Sen. Pat Toomey decided not to seek reelection. Fetterman’s most notable goals are to eliminate the filibuster in the U.S. Senate, legalize marijuana nationwide and raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour. Fetterman’s campaign has been characterized by embracing his Pennsylvanian and working-class roots. Oz’s most notable goals are to tackle China’s rising influence, to further support law enforcement and reduce illegal immigration. Throughout Oz’s campaign, he has compared his ideology to that of former President Donald Trump.


Associate Professor Sarah Niebler, the current Chair of the Political Science Department, believes that Fetterman’s “everyday man” campaign could both hurt and benefit his campaign. She says that “some people are drawn to Fetterman because he isn’t your stereotypical politician, while others are going to reject him because he does not fit the model of a politician.”  She thinks that Fetterman is not necessarily worried about his atypical persona because Democrats specifically will be drawn to Fetterman, simply because they have no other option.


Fetterman has been critical of Oz’s lack of connection to Pennsylvania. He has often cited that Oz lived in New Jersey for most of his life and is a wealthy elite, disconnected from the average working Pennsylvanian. Niebler foresees this could negatively affect Oz’s favorability, as “Pennsylvanians are often parochial people.”


The polls show Fetterman slightly ahead of Oz. Most recent polls have shown Fetterman consistently performing within the margin of error, meaning his victory is far from guaranteed. Niebler says that “the current President’s party loses seats in Congress in the midterm,” but also notes that recent events, such as canceling up to $10,000 of student loan debt and passing the Inflation Reduction Act, helped boost democratic performance nation-wide and could aid Fetterman this Election Day.   


Governor of Pennsylvania: Doug Mastriano (R) vs. Josh Shapiro (D) 

Democrat Pa Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano are currently battling for the governor’s office. Josh Shapiro is the current state Attorney General and his key policy aims are to protect abortion rights, boost public school funding, improve computer science education in schools, alleviate obtrusive tax burdens on Pennsylvanians and improve infrastructure around Pennsylvania. Mastriano is a current Pennsylvania state Senator and his key policy points are to ban abortion with no exceptions, end funding to Planned Parenthood, increase funding for law enforcement, eliminate “no-excuse” mail-in voting, remove vaccine mandates and prevent similar mandates from happening in the future.  


After the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court, Niebler said that “the Dobbs decision brought the issue of reproductive rights to the forefront,” and that this election has “intense consequences.” The overturning of Roe v. Wade has empowered state legislators across the country with the ability to ban abortion. Currently, the Pennsylvania legislative branch is Republican controlled and is most likely going to remain that way. Mastriano would undoubtedly be able to accomplish his goal of banning abortion in Pennsylvania if elected.


Niebler believes Mastriano’s pro-life rhetoric may be too extreme for the average voter in Pennsylvania. She says that with “Pennsylvania being a swing state, there is more moderation with voters. Mastriano’s views are pretty extreme, while Pennsylvania voters are not that extreme.” She cited Shapiro’s contrasting moderate views. Shapiro also saw success in a previous state-wide election, as he was elected Attorney General. Recent polls show Shapiro ahead of Mastriano. 


Pennsylvania House of Representatives: Barbara Gleim (R – Incumbent) vs. Alan Howe (D)

Carlisle is in the 199th District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. On this Election Day, the incumbent Republican Rep. Barbara Gleim is up for reelection. Gleim has been in office since 2018. She has lived most of her life in Carlisle and has previously served on the Cumberland Valley School Board. She is an avid supporter of the Second Amendment, and has voiced her support for pro-life legislation. Gleim also wants Pennsylvania to support big business by reducing regulation and corporate tax rates, in hopes of bolstering Pennsylvania’s economy. More recently, Rep. Gleim has been vocal about banning transgender women from competitive sports through the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act.  


Alan Howe is the Democratic candidate for the 199th District. Howe served in the United States Air Force and attended George Mason University. Howe is a critic of the current performance of Pennsylvania schools and would like to invest more into them. He is also an open supporter of raising the minimum wage and wants Pennsylvania to bolster its environmental protections.