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What's behind the primary’s surprise wins?

Plus, U.S. Senate debates on the horizon.

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A daily newsletter by The logo of Spotlight PA, an independent, nonpartisan newsroom producing investigative journalism for Pennsylvania.
Your Postmaster: Tanisha Thomas

Monday, April 29, 2024
Today: Election upsets, inside look, accepted proposal, noncompete legislation, job return, and school policies.
Location, reputation, demographics, and pure luck may be behind the surprise results of last week’s row office elections.
Turnout was low for the Democratic and Republican primaries, according to election administrators. Voters who showed up often said they felt unprepared and uninspired.
In low-information environments, unexpected things happen, political observers told Spotlight PA. One example of that was Erin McClelland's win in the Democratic primary for state treasurer over party-endorsed state Rep. Ryan Bizzarro.

Read Spotlight PA's full report: In low-turnout Pa. primary, location and luck may have mattered more than policy
Support Spotlight PA's unmatched election reporting that puts voters first.

“We plan on staying here until our demands are met.”

Sophia Rosser, a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, reacts to the university ordering students to end their encampment in protest of the war in Gaza.  

Turtles along the Delaware Canal in Bucks County, via David M. Send us your photos by email, use #PAGems on IG, or tag us @spotlightpennsylvania
turtles sit on a brown branch sticking in the water
Today's top news story in Pennsylvania.
ELECTION PRESSURE: With the spotlight on swing state Pennsylvania, voting officials are feeling the pressure to ensure elections run smoothly. Since 2020, the state has lost dozens of county election officials, leading to an increase in ballot and administrative errors. Spotlight PA and Votebeat detail how Snyder County’s election director handles the magnified responsibilities of election season
Today's second top news story in Pennsylvania.
SENATE DEBATES: Democratic U.S. Sen. Bob Casey and Republican challenger Dave McCormick will participate in three debates this fall ahead of the Nov. 5 general election, the Capital-Star reports. Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg will each host one. McCormick responded to Casey’s debate proposal on X, saying, “Glad to hear it. See you there.” 

Today's third top news story in Pennsylvania.
COMPETE CLAUSE: The federal government recently banned nearly all noncompete agreements, including in the medical field, but WESA reports that the rule doesn’t apply to nonprofits — which many of the state’s hospitals are. Legislation under consideration in the General Assembly would help fill that gap and “drastically” limit the use of noncompetes for clinicians. It wouldn’t apply to counties with fewer than 90,000 people. 
Today's fourth top news story in Pennsylvania.
REINSTATED RULING: A fired Philadelphia police officer will get his job back after an arbitrator ruled the city must reinstate him, The Inquirer (paywall) reports. In 2022, a judge dismissed charges against the officer, Ryan Pownall, who is white and was accused of shooting a Black man while on duty. According to the police union, the arbitrator also found Pownall is entitled to full back pay and seniority.
Today's fifth top news story in Pennsylvania.
OUTSIDE INFLUENCE: A religious law firm known “for implementing pro-Christian, anti-LGBTQ school district policies” is gaining traction around Pennsylvania, the Bucks County Courier Times reports. At least four school districts in York County and one in Beaver County have either signed a contract with the Independence Law Center or discussed recruiting the firm for policy review. 
🗞️ THINK YOU'RE UP TO SPEED? Prove it with this week's PA News Quiz: 2024 matchups, protest votes, and Roe remarks.
FIRST FAILURE: Pennsylvania state regulators have closed Philadelphia-based Republic First Bank — the first U.S. bank failure this year, per the FDIC.  
BILL BLUNDER: A Lancaster County man recently received a notice from the state saying he owed more than $34 billion in income taxes, an error the Department of Revenue says was isolated. 
MISSING ANIMAL: Wally Gator, a well-known emotional support reptile from Pennsylvania, was reported missing out of state on Sunday. Wally's owner said he last saw the gator on April 21. 
LIBRARY PERKS: Allegheny County announced local museums and other attractions will offer more than 100,000 free tickets to library cardholders starting in May through a new summer program. 
COMIC COLLECTION: A University of Pennsylvania alum and his wife donated more than 75,000 comics to his alma mater. The university plans to make the collection available for public viewing. 
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