PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia suburbs rebelled. Joe Biden’s Scranton roots paid off. And two key counties that flipped to Donald Trump in 2016 appear to have had buyer’s remorse.
The story of how Biden won the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania is one that winds through every big city and small town here before ending in front of a worldwide audience watching the state’s vote count send him to the Oval Office.
“Pennsylvania, historically, will be remembered as the key that put him over the top,” said Democratic Rep. Madeleine Dean, who represents part of the Philadelphia suburbs. “People turned out in record numbers to support the incoming President Biden and Kamala Harris because of their decency. And they rejected — and I know it wasn’t everybody — but they did reject in record numbers the indecent president that occupies the White House.”
Further down the ballot, voters made clear just how much this election was about Trump and Trump alone. Even as Biden was carrying Pennsylvania, Democrats were defeated in the race for auditor general, failed to pick up congressional seats in the suburbs, and are on track to lose ground in the state legislature despite thinking they could take it back in advance of an all-important redistricting battle.
“It was a referendum on Trump and people stepped up,” said Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat. “I mean, we got wrecked on a state level. We’re delivering Pennsylvania for Joe Biden, but it seems quaint to think that people thought that Democrats were going to flip the Senate and the House.”