Editor’s Note: This post was written by Laura Durham and Devon Herbert.
Although the Pennsylvania Senate Race has been considered a toss-up race since the very beginning, as we reach election time it has become increasingly evident who the winner will be. Senator Patrick Toomey, Republican incumbent up for re-election, without a doubt, will be netting his second, 6-year term in the Senate. Although last week Toomey and challenger Katie McGinty were tied 46%-46% in a poll released by Monmouth University we believe that when election day comes, Toomey will receive 45% or more of the vote, while McGinty will receive a slightly smaller percentage of 44% or less. The rest of the votes will be for third-party candidates such as Everett Stern and Edward Clifford or any write-in candidates the race will receive on election day.
While McGinty has been pulling voters left and right due to her endorsement and support of Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, McGinty simply does not have the popularity or presence in the political scene as Toomey. McGinty is running in her first big-stage election, while Toomey already has a Senate term under his belt.
The two candidates could not be much more different in their views on many of the leading social issues of 2016. In an article by The Philadelphia Inquirer, author John Baer sums up the views of both candidates in only a few short sentences; “There’s McGinty’s: environment-oriented, pro-choice, supports more spending for child care, education, etc., and an increased minimum wage. There’s Toomey’s: business-oriented, pro-life, opposes government regulations, thinks a minimum-wage hike kills jobs. There’s the fact Toomey’s a national figure as a unique Republican who sought compromise on background checks for guns. And McGinty, though untested, is policy-savvy, clearly a fighter, and a better candidate today than when this campaign began.”
Although the candidates differ immensely in their views, the biggest difference in this battleground Senate race is experience. While Mcginty running for a Senate seat for the very first time in her life, Toomey is running for re-election after his win back in 2011. Since his first win, Toomey has been chair of several committees and subcommittees within the Senate, as well as a member of multiple other committees such as the Committee on Banking, Housing, Urban Affairs and the Budget Committee. This experience in committee work and Senate processes will be seen as a considerable advantage by voters of re-electing Toomey for a second term.
Besides the difference in experience, it is impossible to look at a large scale race like this one without looking at the funds supporting it. Toomey has raised significantly more funding for his campaign and projects during this election cycle than McGinty. Raising nearly $23 million, spending around $15 million and still having $7.5 million cash on hand, Toomey has raised nearly 16 million more dollars than his competition. McGinty has only raised about $6.7 million and has saved only $2.4 million due to a very costly primary election season. This difference in funds will be one of the deciding factors in this election.
With a Republican win in this Senate race, the right-wing Republican Party will continue to dominate the Senate with a 54-46 seat majority. Yet, if Senate majority party switch were to occur, it lies in the hands of Democratic candidate McGinty who could be the very first woman senator from Pennsylvania, as well as a factor in who will win the presidential election due to this toss-up race’s polls being tied with the polls from the presidential election.
While there is little to no doubt that the presidential election of 2016 will be close until the very end, there is most definitely a chance that less than a thousand votes will be the deciding factor in the Pennsylvania Senate race. Although there is a strong movement from many Pennsylvania voters for the underdog, McGinty, to pull away in the polls and sweep this crucial Senate race, we believe that there is simply no way she will be able to compete with Toomey’s experience, knowledge and funds. After all, the word “senate” is thought to come from the Latin word senex, meaning, “old man,” so Toomey will ultimately stick with the traditions and root meaning of his position by winning the 2016 Pennsylvania toss-up Senate race.