The Incline’s 2022 procrastinator’s guide to the election

Welcome to our 2022 midterm ballot bonanza!

There’s a lot to vote on this year in Pittsburgh. Below, we’re rounding up what you need to know heading toward November 8. First up are this year’s statewide elections for Governor and U.S. Senate. There are no state-level amendments to vote on this time around, so outside of local issues, you won’t have to worry about parsing language on changes to the state’s constitution. However, that could change next year.

Want to do your homework before pulling the proverbial lever? Ballotpedia’s Sample Ballot Tool is a useful way to find out who will be on your ballot so you can make a plan before Election Day. City Paper just released their comprehensive election guide with highlights from local races. In addition, each of the candidate’s names below will link directly to their policy platforms when possible. We’ve tried to list candidates in the order in which they’ll appear.

🗳 Statewide elections

First on voters’ ballots will be nominees for U.S. Senate. The Democratic candidate John Fetterman and GOP candidate Mehmet Oz are the biggest names on the ballot and are expected to get the vast majority of votes. The two faced off in an ugly debate Tuesday night. Fetterman is notably in favor of legalizing cannabis, codifying abortion rights and reforming criminal justice, while Oz is “100% pro life,” in favor of more fracking and tough on China. Also on the ballot will be Green Party candidate Alan Weiss, Keystone Party candidate Daniel Wassmer and Libertarian candidate Erik Gerhart.

Governor: Josh Shapiro is the Democratic nominee and is focused on codifying abortion rights, creating job training and work equity initiatives and moving toward renewables. Republican Doug Mastriano’s platform centers the Second Amendment, pro-life policies and changes to how elections are run. The two will not debate after Mastriano rejected the usual format. Also before voters are Green nominee Christina DiGiulio, Keystone nominee Joe Soloski and Libertarian nominee Matt Hackenburg.

Lt. Governor: Democrat Austin Davis and Republican Carrie DelRosso are closely aligned with their parties’ nominees for governor. Also on the ballot will be the Green Party’s Michael Badges-Canning, the Keystone Party’s Nicole Shultz and Libertarian Tim McMaster.

🗳 US House elections

Once again, Pennsylvania’s Congressional map has changed. The 12th District now encompasses much of Pittsburgh and its eastern suburbs, while the 17th shifted slightly away from Butler County and into Pittsburgh’s northern and western suburbs. You can always find your district if you’re unsure.

PA-12: Democrat Summer Lee is running for House in the 12th and supports social and judicial reforms, abortion rights and Medicare for all. Her opponent Mike Doyle — notably NOT Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle retiring after 14 terms of office — is a Plum businessman and municipal councilor who says Washington is “broken” and promises to rein in spending, support first responders and stop the flow of fentanyl.

PA-17: The race for the 17th has pitted Democrat Chris Deluzio against Republican Jeremy Shaffer in a campaign characterized by sharp-elbowed attack ads. Deluzio is in favor of “the union way of life,” reproductive freedom and climate change mitigation, while Shaffer is focused on issues including infrastructure investment, securing the border and confronting China.

A graphic describing how to complete a mail-in ballot.
Mail-in ballot instructions from the PA Dept of Date. (📸: @PennsylvaniaGov on Twitter)

The smaller races (that have a big impact)

We think the lede here is pretty self-explanatory — you’re more likely to be able to talk with and see returns on investment from local candidates than, say, your Senator or US Rep. However, many of these candidates have less information available on their positions, so we’re leaning on our friends at other publications as well as the candidates’ websites for the info below.

🗳 Pennsylvania Senate and House

Both the PA Senate and House saw major redistricting, meaning many incumbents represent different areas (and some candidates no longer live in their districts). Spotlight PA has a handy comparison tool so you can see how your districts may have shifted.

PA Senate: The main race to watch in the Pittsburgh area is between incumbent Democrat Lindsey Williams and Republican challenger PA Rep. Lori Mizgorski in the redrawn 38th district. Williams, a former educator, has made education, healthcare and tax reform priorities. Mizgorski is campaigning school choice, infrastructure improvement and workforce readiness. Other state senate races around Pittsburgh are uncontested (like Wayne Fontana in District 42) or aren’t on the ballot this election cycle. 

PA House: Allegheny County is carved up into a bunch of districts. City Paper has the skinny on four contested races in the area (click the links for more): 

Republican Frank Perman also recently threw his hat in the ring versus incumbent Democrat Sara Innamorato in liberal District 21, and Republican Matt Kruth has done the same via a primary write-in vote versus incumbent Democrat Emily Kinkead in District 20. Don’t see your district on the list? Ballotpedia has a full breakdown of 2022 PA House elections, or you can skip the deep dive and use their Sample Ballot Tool to figure out what your choices are. Allegheny County also has a full list of this year’s candidates and districts on its site.

🗳 Municipal elections

 Within the City of Pittsburgh, the District 5 council seat covering the city’s southeastern neighborhoods is vacant following Councilor Corey O’Connor’s departure to serve as county controller. Four candidates are running for the seat in a special election, including Democrat and resident of Four Mile Run Barb Warwick; Republican and Second Amendment supporter Eugene Bokor; centrist independent Matthew Mahoney and mystery independent Robert McCune. WESA broke down the contest and spoke with the candidates (except McCune) late last month.

With a dizzying array of cities, boroughs, municipalities and townships in our area, Ballotpedia is your friend if you’re unsure what to expect in November.

🗳 Ballot questions

All Allegheny County voters will have a question about amending the county’s Home Rule Charter to make it so county councilors don’t have to vacate their seats if running for another office. If you vote yes, councilors can retain their seats while seeking other offices; if you vote no, nothing changes.

Wilkinsburg voters will have a ballot question that’s closely related to the ongoing debate about Pittsburgh annexing the borough. If you vote yes, you’re approving the creation of a commission studying the implementation of a home rule charter for Wilkinsburg. If you vote no, nothing changes (and you’re implicitly supporting the Wilkinsburg CDC in their quest for annexation).

🗳 Other election resources

Westmoreland County has its own resources available if you live there.

If you’re not registered to vote, unfortunately Monday, Oct. 24 was “last call.” Not sure if you are? Check your status through the state. Definitely registered and excited to vote? Make a plan to vote if you haven’t already!