You've got time. Primary's May 15. Plan on voting, even though Pennsylvania doesn't make it easy.
There are tons of races. Bone up on candidates. Then vote, even if you no longer vote on grounds it's hopeless and/or since Pennsylvania doesn't make it easy.
Not voting is giving up. Don't give up. Even I don't give up, though the political world the last few decades gave me (and you) lots of reason to.
Ironically, I can't vote for any candidate May 15. Registered independent long ago. And, of course, we're a closed-primary state, cuz Pennsylvania doesn't make it easy.
But, hey, we've got a new woke, engaged electorate, right?
New congressional districts, bunch of open seats, bevy of first-time candidates, chance to oust incumbents (just kidding, most don't have primary opponents). Plus, plenty of women (and Joe Hoeffel) running in a year the vote's expected to be #MeToo-driven.
What's not to like?
"I'm really interested to watch turnout," says Pennsylvania League of Women Voters director Suzanne Almeida. "It's the first big election since 2016 [let me just add here, since the league is nonpartisan, when the world spun off its axis], and there's all this enthusiasm. So, I'm very hopeful but not at all convinced, because we know people don't show up for primaries."
She's right, people. So, show up.
If you don't know what you're doing, check the league's website. Enter your address, see who you can vote for, and for what.
Let's look at some races.
U.S. Senate: Incumbent Democrat Bob Casey, unopposed. GOP has (Trumpish) Lou Barletta and state Rep. Jim Christiana (R, Beaver). Meh. But vote anyway.
Governor: Incumbent Democrat Tom Wolf, unopposed; GOP's got (Trumpish) Scott Wagner; self-proclaimed real conservative Paul Mango; and sensible, civil Laura Ellsworth. Let your conscience be your guide.
Don't forget the five-way Democratic lieutenant governor primary featuring controversial, maybe vulnerable incumbent, Mike Stack; and a four-way GOP race.
Also, new area congressional districts have crowded Democratic fields (Republicans, not so much), high drama and gender politics; and, for a state used to seeing slugs on the ballot, an array of capable, credentialed candidates.
In the Fifth (Delco and South Philly) there are 10 Dems: six women, four men; a great slate, and a potential free-for-all. It's got, for example, Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland, state Rep. Greg Vitali, former Philly deputy mayor Richie Lazer, former federal prosecutor Ashley Lunkenheimer, Ballard Spahr pro bono counsel Mary Gay Scanlon, Penn biophysicist Molly Sheehan. A bountiful ballot, indeed.
The Fourth (Montco, Berks) features state Rep. Madeleine Dean, CeaseFirePa's Shira Goodman and the aforementioned Hoeffel, former congressman and current target for possibly ruining Pennsylvania's chance to elect at least one woman to Congress.
See, there's this thing going around that three open seats, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh (the old Charlie Dent seat; Lehigh, Northampton) have strong women running but all three could be won by men.
I guess anything's possible. But I think the state's days of no women in Washington are gone for good, largely thanks to President You Know Who. Especially if turnout's up.
"I do believe we'll see increased primary turnout," says Common Cause chief Micah Sims, "even in legislative races due to all the attention to reform issues such as redistricting, resizing the legislature and voting modernization."
Legislative primaries are mostly snoozers. Though there are open, contested suburban seats and three open seats in Philly due to the retirements of South Philly Democrat Bill Keller, North Philly Democrat Curtis Thomas, and Northeast Philly Republican John Taylor.
All three seats have Democratic primaries. (Republicans not so much.)
Committee of Seventy's voter guide has details on city races. And Seventy boss David Thornburgh says that, for the first time, the guide includes suburban races. It's well-done and worth your time.
So, no excuses. Candidate info's a few clicks away. Get it, share it, vote.