Shapiro secures rare victory for Democrats in Attorney General race

Photo by Chloe Jakiela
Attorney General-elect Josh Shapiro

Written By Kayla Snyder, Copy Editor

Democratic candidate Josh Shapiro won Pennsylvania’s attorney general race despite his party losing the coveted presidential and Senate races.

Shapiro beat his opponent, Republican candidate John Rafferty, by just under 3 percent. The attorney general race mirrored how close the rest of the state elections were, with the exceptions of urban centers.

Philadelphia tipped the scale for Shapiro, voting for him by more than 80 percent, and Allegheny County reporting just under 60 percent of votes going to Shapiro, according to poll numbers.

The race was close all night, with the poll numbers either being split in the middle or having Shapiro winning with an overwhelming majority in the majority of counties.

According to poll numbers at the time of publication, Shapiro won by nearly 160,000 votes.

Some voters overlooked the Pennsylvania attorney general race due to the presidential election.

Students from Duquesne University, Daniella Chandler and Andrea Walters, both agreed that their vote for attorney general came solely from their Democratic Party affiliation.

“I voted straight democrat. The only election that mattered the most to me was the presidential election,” Walters said.

Shapiro and Rafferty debated at the Center for Media Innovation (CMI) on Nov. 2. The debate was moderated by KDKA’s Jon Delano.

Point Park freshman advertising and public relations major Zachary Seymour followed the attorney general race closely after the debate at the CMI and decided to vote for Shapiro.

“I found out about the race when I researched who would be on my ballot so I could be an informed voter,” Seymour said.

Both Shapiro and Rafferty have in-state political experience. Shapiro began his political career as a congressional staffer, and is a former Montgomery County commissioner and an ex-state representative. Rafferty’s political experience includes being a state senator and Pennsylvania’s former Deputy Attorney General.

Rafferty said that he wanted to be the attorney general to bring the role back to its original position.

“When you look at me and my opponent, I have the experience,” Rafferty said. “This isn’t a stepping stone for me… I want to be the attorney general. I’ve dedicated my career to public service and public safety and this is the culmination of this career.”

Shapiro also said that the attorney general position needs turned around.

“I want to be the person who Pennsylvania relies on to protect their rights and to make them safer, “ Shapiro said. Shapiro was endorsed by Barack Obama.

Chandler said that this race has been overshadowed by the presidential election.

“The attorney general election isn’t well advertised to the general public,” Chandler said. “I have not seen this race on the media as much as the presidential election.”

The attorney general race between Shapiro and Rafferty comes after former attorney general Kathleen Kane’s conviction charges later earlier this month. Kane was convicted on perjury, conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges and sentenced to 10 to 23 months in prison.

Additional reporting by Josh Croup