Though votes continue to be counted, and a number of key races have yet to be called, the overall story of this election is clear.
"Pennsylvanians responded to candidates who told a story of hope and had a clear vision of how our leaders can deliver for working class people and protect our freedoms," said Carrie Santoro, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Stands Up. "They're pissed off at wealthy politicians like Mehmet Oz and billionaire donors and they resoundingly rejected Doug Mastriano's desperate, fear-based story of hate and division."
Pennsylvania Stands Up reached out to almost half-a-million voters living in largely rural communities like Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Berks County. Drawing heavily on a deep canvassing approach to voter engagement, we spoke to our neighbors about the issues that mattered most to them: rising costs at the grocery store and the gas station, unaffordable rents, and corporate price gouging.
We found that when we connected with voters on the doors, we could find common ground, and move people to vote for Josh Shapiro, John Fetterman, and the slate of state legislature candidates endorsed by our local chapters. In addition to the Shapiro and Fetterman victories, a number of our down ballot candidates won, including Izzy Smith-Wade-El in Lancaster and Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz in Reading, who will both be heading to Harrisburg for the first time and we protected Bridget Malloy Kosierowski in a competitive race to save her seat in Lackawanna county.
"People often write-off small town and rural voters," said Holly VanWert, a Northeast PA organizer and canvasser for PASU who lives in Vandling, PA. "But what we've found is that when we connect around the problems we face — rising costs, unaffordable rents, and corporate greed — we see that we have more to gain by joining together to take on the wealthy and the powerful, than by letting ourselves be pulled apart by those who want to divide us for their own profit."
PA Stands Up will continue organizing on the issues that we've heard our community members talk about on the doors. And we'll hold Governor Shapiro accountable for representing our communities, instead of catering to deep-pocketed donors like billionaire Jeffrey Yaas. While it's vitally important that Shapiro veto extreme legislation, it won't be enough. He must do everything in his power to create an America that works for all of us, where it is easier to vote, easier to access the healthcare our families need, and harder for people who seek to divide us by what we look like or how we worship.
At PA Stands Up, we organize for power. Across race, place, and generation, we are building a Pennsylvania that works for #AllOfUs. We have over 2,000 dues paying members across our 5 chapters.
Image: Canvassers in Lancaster prepare to do a final door knock on election day.