Pennsylvania Posts GOP Gains Across The Board

The Republican wave swept Pennsylvania, winning the governorship, a U.S. Senate seat and most of the commonwealth's seats in the U.S. House.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

So that's a big race in Illinois. Let's move next to Pennsylvania, where Republicans took the governorship, a U.S. Senate seat and the majority of the House seats. Here's NPR's Debbie Elliott.

DEBBIE ELLIOTT: It was just after midnight when the party started for supporters of Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey.

Unidentified People: Toomey, Toomey, Toomey, Toomey!

ELLIOTT: In a tight contest, Toomey, the former congressman and past president of the free market advocacy group Club for Growth, defeated Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak. Toomey echoed the theme of his campaign in his acceptance speech.

Senator-Elect PAT TOOMEY (Republican, Pennsylvania): Today we send a simple, clear message to the establishment in Washington: we're tired of what's been going on down there. We're tired of it and we're going to chart a new course.

ELLIOTT: Toomey will replace Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Spector, who has held the seat for 30 years but lost to Sestak in the Democratic primary. In his concession speech, Sestak thanked voters for caring.

Senator JOE SESTAK (Democrat, Pennsylvania): They desire to believe again and they love America.

ELLIOTT: Republican voter Dan Benson of Orefield, Pennsylvania credits the Tea Party for turning the state red. He says until this election the GOP had lost its way.

Mr. DAN BENSON: The Tea Party is kind of allowing it to get back to its roots, which were, you know, traditionally Republicans believed in fiscal conservatism and limited government.

ELLIOTT: Republicans also picked up five House seats, giving them the majority in the Pennsylvania congressional delegation.

And in the governor's race, Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett beat Democrat Dan Onorato. Corbett says his victory is an opportunity to bring fiscal discipline, limited government and free enterprise to Pennsylvania.

Debbie Elliott, NPR News, Allentown.

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