Chatham students share opinions after Pennsylvania mid-term election


The Welker Room turned into a polling place on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. Photo Credit: Lilly Kubit

Victoria Brokaw

Election day is a stressful, but important, time for many who are politically active, and is even more worrying when important life-altering laws, such as abortion bans, spark concern for many. 

Though the results are sometimes as expected or hoped, it’s important for students to understand and talk about what certain election results mean.  

The results of an election are important for everyone regardless of voter participation. 

In Pennsylvania, there were two pivotal races in this election; senator and governor. 

The Senate race in Pennsylvania was a key race in the United States, as the results from this race determined which party now controls the Senate. This is crucial as it will determine what laws and legislations will be passed in the Senate based on the party majority. Having the Senate under a Democratic majority gives President Joe Biden greater freedom to pass legislation.

Going into this election, 35 seats in the Senate were up for election, as well as all 435 seats of the House of Representatives. 

However, the control of the House is in control of the Republican Party.

This governor race was more important this year as certain legislations under current Gov. Tom Wolf, who is in his final term in office. Legislation about abortion rights, voter ID and vaccine requirements, would be up in the air under the new leadership. 

The governor race in Pennsylvania was between Democrat, Josh Shapiro and Republican, Doug Mastriano, while the U.S. Senate race was between Republican, Mehmet Oz and Democrat, John Fetterman. 

Shapiro was elected as governor, and Fetterman was elected as U.S. Senate. The Oz, Fetterman race was highly anticipated for many in Pittsburgh because Fetterman himself is a Pittsburgh native who lives in Braddock, Pennsylvania which is just half an hour from Chatham’s Shadyside Campus.

Voting is a big way that students can make important changes in politics. This is shown through this year’s election results. 

It was expected for the Republican party to have a ‘red wave’ and take the majority of wins in this election. However, what happened instead is called a ‘red sprinkle’ due to the abundance of Democrats voting, which tend to be students and younger voters. 

The election results of two very important positions in state and federal positions may be what some people were hoping for, but it might not be for others.  

Student Voices

Many students at Chatham were politically present and active for this midterm election. Some students share their opinions about these election results.

Addie Bradley, ‘25 shared that they were closely following the race for the U.S. Senate. This was their first time voting, and they did so by mail-in ballot as they are from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Bradley also shared that voting is important to them because they want to have kids and live in Pennsylvania in the future. Voting is one way to ensure the safety and happiness of their future family.  

Students’ votes are important not just in this election, but every election. Voting is a big way that students’ voices can be heard. 

Kessa Zacks ‘23 shared that she voted because it’s “the only way we have a say.” 

A fabric sign pitched by the Woodland Stairs urges students to vote on Nov. 8, 2022. Photo Credit: Lilly Kubit

Zacks was most looking forward to voting in the U.S. Senate race during this election and was happy to see the results of it. 

“Mail-in voting is frustrating, but I will still vote,” Zacks said. 

Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Zacks applied and mailed in her ballot before election day.

 Makennah Ziko ‘23 was also a mail-in voter this election and shared similar frustrations about the mail-in voting process. 

Similar to other students, Ziko was happy to see the results of the U.S. Senate race and was following that race closely. 

Ziko votes because “it’s important to get our voices out there.” She also shared that voting is critical especially in close results when elected officials only win by a small margin. 

Another important issue for Ziko is the legalization of marijuana in Pennsylvania, which senator-elect Fetterman supports. 

The legalization of marijuana was also an important issue on the agenda for Blue Strickland-Sinclair ‘23. 

Working in healthcare, Strickland-Sinclair is looking for the federal legalization of marijuana as she has seen the benefits of it with her older patients. 

This was their first time voting and she stated that “no candidates had inspired her to vote up until this point.” 

Jack Schmiediln, ‘22, who is originally from Culver, Indiana, is registered to and voted in Pennsylvania for the recent midterm election. As a founding member of Chatham’s Young Republican Club Schmiedlin felt his vote was needed more in Pennsylvania rather than in Indiana, which is a solid red state.

Schmiediln stated “I felt both candidates weren’t as strong in my opinion,” in response to the Senate race, and was interested in how that race would play out. 

“I felt that neither candidate stood out to me,” Schmiediln explained why he voted for a third party. 

Schmiediln said that he thought there were a lot of issues he felt that people would be voting for certain candidates who support different issues. 

“I think voting is important because you have a say in everything, and you have the ability to change what you see on a daily basis,” said Schmiediln.

He continued to say that every vote matters and every race matters in a given election. 

“No matter what you believe, your voice should be heard,” he said. 

Schmiediln also shared that his belief on voting was a key reason to why he started the Young Republicans Clubs in 2020 as a way to ensure their voices are represented.

In response to this election, it’s apparent that student votes do matter. Students should continue this positive voting behavior with every election.