Republicans contemplate direction of party after close loss

Published by adviser, Author: Catie Clark - Assistant News Editor, Date: November 8, 2012
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President Barack Obama was re-elected for another term Tuesday after a close popular vote.

Obama, a Democrat, beat out opponent Republican Mitt Romney by two percent in the popular vote.

Romney earned 48 percent, or 57,821,399, of the popular votes and Obama earned 50 percent with 60,662,601 total votes.

Obama garnered 303 Electoral College votes, while Romney had 206.

In Pennsylvania, the popular vote was at 52 percent for Obama and 46.8 percent for Romney.

Third party competitors Gary Johnson, Libertarian, and Jill Stein, Green Party, were also on the Pennsylvania ballot.

Johnson earned 0.9 percent of Pennsylvania’s votes, which is 48,458 individual votes.

Stein earned 0.4 percent of the votes in Pennsylvania, with 20,710 individual votes.

According to Heather Frederick, a professor of political science specializing in national politics, Romney lost the election because he couldn’t communicate clear solutions.

“I don’t think Obama’s reelection was a mandate for his policies,” Frederick said. “I think people were concerned about Romney’s inability to communicate clear solutions for the problems he continued to raise.  I don’t think he was the best candidate the Republicans could have chosen, and ultimately people’s uncertainty about Romney’s stances on everything from economic to social issues hurt his chances.”

Frederick said the Republicans are going to have to make changes to appeal to more voters to be successful in the future.

“The Republican Party is going to have to do something to try to appeal to women, people of color, and young people,” Frederick said. “All the discussion by Republican Senate candidates about pregnancies that result from rape caused women to reject that party in a big way.  If the Republican Party doesn’t do something to broaden their base and change some of their platforms to be more inclusive, they are in big trouble.”

According to Frederick, this election was monumental in more ways than one.

“Tammy Baldwin won her Senate race in Wisconsin and becomes the first openly Lesbian woman to serve in the Senate,” Frederick said. “There will be more women representing states in the Senate than ever before. Women are still severely underrepresented in Congress, but this is a big step.”

Sharon Sykora, professor of political science, also noted the rise in women in the Senate.

“Women bring a different voice to the table and that they are more included in the past will make for positive change,” Sykora said. “There have been some annoying critics and commentators on TV in the last couple of days who have been mumbling on about this ‘very high’ number of women. Really? Do you mean to tell me that there is a problem with there being nineteen women in the Senate when women comprised 53 percent of voters in Tuesday’s election and comprise over half of the population? When the number of women in the Senate, and in the House, approach 90 percent, then maybe they’ll have a little something to crank about, especially given the lack of women in politics in these many years.”

Maryland and Maine passed referendums on their ballots Tuesday that approved marriage equality.

“That is huge,” Frederick said. “This is the first time that voters have voted for marriage equality. States that have legalized before did so as a result of judicial interpretation or legislative directive.”

Colorado and Washington state also legalized marijuana through their ballots.

This included marijuana use for anyone over the age of 18.

“These are big wins for libertarians and liberals,” Frederick said, “and huge losses for conservatives.”

Local Pennsylvania Results

Pennsylvania voters elected U.S. Senator Bob Casey for his second six-year term Tuesday.

Casey beat his Republican Challenger Tom Smith, a conservative who used wealth from the coal-mining industry to pay for his campaign.

Third runner Rayburn Smith, a Libertarian, earned two percent of Pennsylvania’s votes, which amounted to 94, 362 individual votes.

The Casey win helped sway the Senate to be more Democratic in weight, while the House of Representatives continues to have more Republican representatives.

U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly won re-election to a second term Tuesday, defeating his Democratic opponent, Missa Eaton.

According to New Castle News, the Butler Republican received 159,630 votes in the 3rd Congressional District that spreads over seven counties. Eaton, a Sharon resident, received 119,905 votes. Independent candidate Steven Porter had 12,308 votes.

Kelly won the Lawrence County portion of the district by approximately 2,500 votes. The northern three-fourths of the county was added to the 3rd District the past year as the result of redistricting to reflect the 2010 census.

Locally, State Rep. Jaret Gibbons, Democrat, won the 10th District which includes Slippery Rock’s portion of Butler County.

Gibbons was re-elected for his fourth term Tuesday, and beat opponent Republican Michael See for the second time in a row by more than 1,400 votes.

Gibbons earned 13,501 votes and See received 12,066 votes.

Gibbons defeated See in the Lawrence County and Butler County portions of the 10th District.

He won Lawrence County by nearly 2,000 votes and Butler by 39 votes.

See carried the Beaver County portion by nearly 600 votes.

Scott Hutchinson, who ran unopposed, won State Senator for District 21, where Slippery Rock resides. The Republican State Senator earned 100 percent of the votes, with about 73,413 unique voters.

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