Wolf defeats Wagner, wins second term as Pa. governor
YORK, Pa. - Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has clinched a second term in Harrisburg after defeating Republican nominee Scott Wagner in Tuesday’s general election.
Wolf, a Democrat, tallied nearly 57.6 percent of the vote to Wagner’s 40.8 with 99 percent of precincts reporting as of 1a.m. Wednesday morning.
Several national outlets called the race shortly after polls closed at 8p.m. in the Keystone State following Wolf’s months-long lead in the polls.
Wolf claimed victory shortly after 9p.m. at his watch party in York, where both he and Wagner are natives. The two campaigns held their watch parties a little more than three miles apart Tuesday night. Wolf told an estimated 400-500 supporters their votes helped to protect education funding, senior citizens, and union and women’s reproductive rights.
“Four years ago, I stood before you and I said we have a lot of work to do so let’s get started,” Wolf said, referring to his 2014 upset over incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett. “Tonight, I have basically the same message. We still have a lot of work to do, so let’s get back to work.”
Wolf, 69, will begin his second term with a new lieutenant governor, Braddock, Pa. Mayor John Fetterman, who won a five-way primary election with 38 percent of the vote. Fetterman ousted sitting Lt. Gov. Mike Stack, who became the first incumbent lieutenant governor to lose a reelection bid in the commonwealth’s history.
With his family by his side throughout the night, Fetterman was quick to deflect the notion that his appeal to younger and more progressive voters helped generate momentum across Pennsylvania.
“Governor Wolf has had a great first term, and he’s bringing in an enormous base of voters,” Fetterman said during a one-on-one interview with WENY News. “I think we’re a great team together and we’ve really campaigned well together. He’s been an absolute pleasure to be on the same ticket with.”
Fetterman wants to “reinvent” the lieutenant governor’s office, notably focusing on criminal justice reform and a champion for smaller, marginalized communities across Pennsylvania that are struggling economically, he said.
Wagner called Wolf to concede shortly before 10p.m., according to Wolf campaign spokeswoman Beth Melena.
Wagner, a York County businessman who owns the waste-hauling company Penn Waste, served in the Pa. State Senate from 2014 until this June when he resigned to focus on the governor’s race. He became the first candidate in Pa. State Senate history to win on a write-in campaign.
Wagner said he urged Wolf during their call Tuesday night to consider what became one of the Republicans’ biggest proposals on the campaign trail: property tax reform.
“Let’s keep forging forward,” Wagner said in his concession speech. “I’m not going away.”
Wolf’s victory comes just days before his 70th birthday.