Pennsylvania 2020

Goal

Flip a chamber

Chamber Makeup

State Senate

22 Democrats

28 Republicans

State House

93 Democrats

110 Republicans

The Opportunity

Pennsylvania is one of the three states that cost Hillary Clinton the presidency. But we can stop looking to 2016 to predict what will happen in 2020; we can look at special elections at the state legislative level. And all indications point to mounting political momentum in Pennsylvania: Since January 2019, Democrats have won two critical special elections. Special elections like these suggest that Democrats are well positioned to win one or both chambers of the legislature in 2020.

The Stakes

Pennsylvania used to be a state that championed a decent quality of life for middle-class families, ensuring everyone had a fair chance at work, at home and at school. The Republican majority in the legislature has done everything it can to unravel that proud history.

  • Worked to undermine education from top to bottom: targeting K-12 public education, rejecting pre-k initiatives, and blocking efforts to make college more affordable.

  • Insulated themselves from political accountability, obstructing bills expanding voting rights and implementing one of the country’s most extreme gerrymanders that was ultimately found in violation of the state’s constitution.

  • Systematically unwound the state’s historic commitment to workers’ rights, blocking bills for livable wages, equal pay for equal work, and paid leave.

2020 Political Landscape

  • In 2020, the entire Pennsylvania House is up for election, and Democrats need to net nine of 110 Republican-held seats to flip the chamber.

  • Democrats only need to win Republican-held seats won by either Clinton or Obama to flip the chamber.

  • In a March 2019 special election, Democrats won a Pennsylvania House special election by 25% in a seat that Trump won by 8%—a 33-point swing.

  • In 2018:

    • Democrats netted 13 seats, the first step in a two-cycle lift to win the chamber.

    • Democratic Governor Tom Wolf won 41 Republican-held districts, many by double digits.