In light of the outcome of Tuesday’s election, it could be said that, at least in some ways, the county mirrors the national mood when it comes to the political climate.
Dennis Plane, department chair and professor of politics at Juniata College, noted that voter turnout in the country for the midterm elections was high, just like in the county at 52 percent.
The Daily News reported Wednesday that 45.91 percent of the county’s registered voters participated in the November 2014 midterm election.
According to a report from NPR, more than 47 percent of the voting-eligible population cast a ballot in the midterm elections Tuesday, which gained their estimates from the United States Election Project.
“Nationally, we saw high turnout as conservatives showed up to support Donald Trump and as liberals showed up to express opposition to Trump,” he said. “Turnout was astronomically high for a midterm, suggesting that the public viewed this more like a referendum on Trump than an election for Congress.
Though the Democrats took the U.S. House of Representatives, reflecting a little bit of a blue wave that was discussed prior to the election, Republicans made gains in the U.S. Senate, reflecting the polarization of politics in the country.
Locally, Plane noted results were expected, but Democrats did make some gains.
“Locally, the results are as one might expect, with Republican candidates winning,” he said. “Democrats made some inroads, however, especially in the 34th Senatorial District in the candidacy of Ezra Nanes.”
In Centre County, the home county of Nanes and incumbent Republican state Sen. Jake Corman, Nanes had more votes, with 28,674 votes to Corman’s 26,530 votes.
“That Nanes narrowed the gap with Corman is testament to the Nanes’ relevance — especially in the less conservative and younger State College area,” said Plane. “Both candidates and their parties spent considerable resources in what would normally be a safe Republican area.”
Additionally, in the 81st Legislative District for state representative, Democratic candidate Rick Rogers also made some gains against incumbent and Republican state Rep. Rich Irvin in Centre County, as the district covers a portion of Centre County.
Rogers secured 4,111 votes to Irvin’s 3,654 votes in Centre County, despite only getting 4,289 votes to Irvin’s 11,067 votes in Huntingdon County.
Plane noted that while it wasn’t the big blue wave that some were anticipating, Democrats made some headway, but Republican control in the U.S. Senate could potentially have lasting impacts for years to come.
“Nationally, it was not a blue wave, but there was an unusually high tide in some areas,” he said. “Republicans extended their U.S. Senate majority, which will allow Trump and the Republicans to have a long-lasting effect on the judiciary by virtually guaranteeing as many conservative federal judges as possible — potentially pulling that branch to the right for decades.”