Year in Review: Midterm elections drive Penn community to the polls, political causes

josh-shapiro-john-fetterman-mehmet-oz-doug-mastriano

(Clockwise from top left) Then Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvanian Senate candidate John Fetterman, Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano, and Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz.
Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil , Julia Van Lare, Abhiram Juvvadi

The Daily Pennsylvanian’s political coverage this year followed how the Penn community reacted to this year’s biggest moments in politics – ranging from the leaked draft of the overturning of Roe v. Wade to Penn students’ role in the Pennsylvania midterm elections.

Feb. 8 The United States Senate confirmed former Penn President Amy Gutmann as U.S. ambassador to Germany. Penn professors spoke with the DP about Gutmann’s ability to mend relationships with Germany after former President Donald Trump and Angela Merkel’s rocky relationship. 

Feb. 23 As Pennsylvania unveiled a new state congressional map, Penn’s political leaders reflected on the process of redistricting and highlighted the danger of gerrymandering in this process.

Fourteen different congressional maps were submitted for approval by groups of citizens, lawmakers, and even included a map submitted by a group of mathematicians, including Penn mathematics professor Phillip Gressman. 

May 3 – Hundreds protested at Penn and City Hall after a leaked draft suggested that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade and leave abortion access up to individual states.

Over 100 pro-abortion rights protestors marched across Penn’s campus, including College first year Gabrielle Galchen, who spoke at the march about the importance of women having autonomy over their bodies.

“This choice is fundamental to her human rights,” Galchen said. “This choice means that her uterus is not government property. It’s not anyone’s property. It’s her property, hers alone.”

May 18 – The results for Pennsylvania’s primary elections were announced as over 100 voters casted their ballots in person on campus on Election Day. Leaders of Penn political groups encouraged students to vote early or by absentee ballot as students were leaving campus for summer vacation.

Penn graduate Mehmet Oz won the Republican Senate primary and Lt. Gov. John Fetterman won the Democratic primary, leading to a tight Senate race that determined the balance of power in Congress. 

For the gubernatorial race, state Sen. Doug Mastriano won the Republican nomination and Attorney General Josh Shapiro ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. 

Oct. 7 – President Joe Biden stopped by Penn’s campus in an unexpected visit, marking his first public appearance at the University since 2019.

Biden arrived at the University Meeting and Guest House before going to the Penn Bookstore. He stopped to greet students and Philadelphia residents along the way. Biden was accompanied by Penn President Liz Magill and his granddaughter Natalie Biden, who was reportedly visiting the University.  

Oct. 27 – The DP surveyed over 350 members of the Penn community and analyzed their preferences ahead of the midterm elections.

The DP found that over 87% of the students who said they are eligible to vote also said that they would vote in the election. The DP also found that the majority of students who planned to vote said they would vote for Fetterman for senator and Shapiro for governor. Abortion access topped the list for issues the Penn students care the most about.

Nov. 7 – Ahead of the midterm elections, Governor-elect Shapiro spoke to the DP about the importance of November’s elections and student voter turnout. Shapiro said that his Republican opponent, Mastriano, would fight to remove rights from Penn students. 

“It’s all on the line for students, whether it’s your right to equality education, whether it’s your right to make decisions over your own body, right to marry who you love, your right to vote,” Shapiro said. “We’ve got to do our part to protect people’s rights.” 

Nov. 9 – Over 2,000 on-campus voters cast ballots on Election Day. Fetterman and Shapiro beat Oz and Mastriano, for Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial and Senate races.

Ahead of the election, former President Barack Obama and Biden hosted a rally for Pennsylvania Democrats. Roughly 7,500 attended the rally at Temple University. 

“This election requires every single one of us to do our part,” Obama told the crowd at the rally. 

Nov. 15 – 1968 Wharton graduate Trump announced his 2024 presidential run at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Fla. 

“The past two years under Joe Biden had been a time of pain, hardship, anxiety, and despair,” Trump said at the event. 

Student representatives from Penn Democrats and Penn College Republicans agreed that they would not support Trump’s campaign. College Republicans said that the club would prefer “a younger, more qualified candidate who better embodies conservative values.”

Check out the rest of the DP’s Year in Review content here.





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