HARRISBURG - Next week's election is not expected to shake up the balance of power in the Pennsylvania legislature, where Republicans hold commanding majorities in both chambers.
But Democrats are hoping it will give them a shot at chipping away at GOP control by picking up seats in hard-fought districts in the House, including several in Philadelphia and its suburbs, where polls show support for the Democrat at the top of the ticket - Hillary Clinton - still runs high.
Not to be outdone, Senate Republicans say they envision snagging just enough new seats to reach a coveted status for any political party: a veto-proof majority.
"It won't be easy, but there is a real path," said Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson).
It would require Senate Republicans to pick up three new seats, a feat that Scarnati gave a "75 percent" chance of happening.
All 203 seats in the House, as well as half of the seats in the 50-member Senate, are on the ballot this year.
Even so, only about half of those races feature competitive contests.
In Philadelphia, for instance, many incumbent lawmakers are running unopposed, including two facing corruption charges, and another who secretly pleaded guilty earlier this year to participating in an embezzling scheme.
In the Senate, where Republicans hold a 31-19 advantage, among the marquee races is the matchup for the Delaware County seat once held by the Senate's former majority leader, Dominic Pileggi, now a judge.
There, Republican Sen. Tom Killion will face off with Democrat Marty Molloy. Molloy lost to Killion in April in a special election for the seat, and is now back for a rematch.
In the House, where Republicans hold a 119-84 advantage, Democrats are gunning to reclaim the Northeast Philadelphia seat held by Republican State Rep. Martina White.
The onetime financial adviser won the seat in a special election last year, a difficult feat for any Republican running in the heavily Democratic city. This year, she is being challenged by Democrat Matt Darragh, who oversees a team in the state Auditor General's Office that audits state-run wine and spirits stores.
"It's going to be a fight all the way to the end there," said Nathan Davidson, executive director of the House Democratic Campaign Committee.
Democrats are also eyeing several open seats in the Philadelphia suburbs, including those of Rep. Mike Vereb in Montgomery County and Rep. Bill Adolph in Delaware County. Vereb and Adolph are not seeking reelection.
In Montgomery County, Democrat Linda Weaver, an educator, and Republican Michael Corr, a lawyer and CPA, are vying for Vereb's position. In Delaware County, Republican Alex Charlton, who is chief of staff to a state senator, and Democrat Elaine Schaefer, a Radnor Township commissioner, are competing for Adolph's seat.
Another competitive race being watched closely by both parties is the matchup in Chester County between State Rep. Dan Truitt, a Republican, and Democrat Carolyn Comitta, the mayor of West Chester.
In Philadelphia, most incumbents are running unopposed.
They include State Rep. Leslie Acosta, who the Inquirer has revealed secretly pleaded guilty earlier this year to federal felony charges; Rep. Vanessa Brown, a Democrat scheduled to go on trial later this year on charges of accepting money or gifts from an undercover operative in a sting run by the state Attorney General's Office; and Sen. Larry Farnese, a Democrat whom federal authorities have accused of using a $6,000 bribe to sway a 2011 election for Democratic ward leader in the city.