Bundle up this morning because the first measurable snow of the season is in the forecast, and we’re hitting only the mid-30s.

Today we’re looking at Pennsylvania’s competitive and high-stakes elections in this new year, as Democrats and Republicans alike try to define themselves in the post-Trump era.

When is your unofficial cutoff date for saying “Happy New Year?” Two weeks? End of the month? Do you find yourself saying it into February? Let me know at morningnewsletter@inquirer.com.

— Kerith Gabriel (@sprtswtr, morningnewsletter@inquirer.com)

A peek at the players on Pa.’s wide-open political landscape

The coming primaries for Pennsylvania governor and the state’s U.S. Senate seat will help shape the direction of both parties in this battleground state ahead of the 2024 presidential election. And the races are particularly wide open, with no incumbents.

  • Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, served his two terms and can’t seek reelection.

  • Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, isn’t running for reelection.

Our reporter Jonathan Tamari breaks down the candidates and the political dynamics to watch in races that could have a massive impact on policy.

What you should know today

Hate has a new home: Video games.

Social media has become fertile ground for white supremacists and conspiracy theorists to attract new followers. But another recruitment avenue is less known: the message boards and direct chats inside popular video games.

Researchers found that white supremacists are using online video game communities and streaming platforms to approach and recruit kids as early as middle school. That’s scary, especially considering the rise in hate crimes over the last few years.

  • More than 8,000 hate crimes were reported in the U.S. in 2020, the highest total in more than a decade, according to the FBI.

  • In Philadelphia, 63 people were reported as victims of hate crimes, a 320% increase from 2019, when there were 15 victims.

  • Statewide, the number of reported victims doubled in 2020 to 110, but that’s likely a low estimate; of Pennsylvania’s 1,504 law enforcement agencies, just 734 supplied data to the FBI.

Our reporter David Gambacorta investigates the rise of this recruitment pipeline and what’s being done to curb it.

🧠 Philly Trivia Time 🧠

When the Mummers Parade hit Center City, it continued a tradition of Philly pageantry — among other things. Today’s question: How many years has the annual parade graced Broad Street? The answer should be a breeze since I already sneaked it in above, so enjoy these images by our photographers from Sunday’s spectacle.

What we’re…

Photo of the day

Welcome to the first Monday of the new year. Make it a good one. 💯