We are live all around the country. Here in the studio with me is Andrea Bernstein, The Takeaway's Political Director. Adaora Udoji is live in Atlanta, Georgia where she's taking the pulse of the surprising toss-up state. And the toss-up state of Pennsylvania is also on our minds. Scott Gilbert joins us from WTIF Radio, the NPR – the Public Radio affiliate in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, joining us from Camp Hill, PA. Scott, thanks for joining us.
Good morning, John. Good to be with you.
Now, as we've said repeatedly on this program this morning, Pennsylvania is unique not only because it's a toss-up state, not only because, you know, the Phillies won the World Series but also because no early voting in this state has meant that it's all going to happen today. Pennsylvania could see a real tsunami of turnout. What are you seeing so far today?
Well, here in Camp Hill we're seeing at least as heavy, you know, most likely quite a bit heavier turnout than we saw here in 2004. At this particular polling place, about 110 people in line as of 7 a.m., and that only meant for - you know, about a 30-minute wait for people in the back of the line.
But still, that's very heavy. And what's interesting is the line didn't just go down. It now once again stretches all the way inside, around the polling place and back out the door. So, you know, even – what is it? – about close to an hour after the polls opened, it's still, you know, the line is still substantial, but still moving. We're told by folks who've been inside that it's a very easy process, things are self-explanatory and that the machines are working well.
Now, the Barack Obama campaign seems to have a solid edge in Pennsylvania according to all the latest polls, leading right up to today. But Republicans have a chance to gain congressional seats in Pennsylvania. How is that possible?
Well, it is possible because of kind of the way Pennsylvania is structured. I mean, if you look at Pennsylvania as a whole, really Central Pennsylvania is the only part of the state that John McCain will likely win, and he has pulled ahead by, like, double digits here in this part of the state.
But if you break it down into individual congressional races, I mean, well, first of all, look at the battle that Congressman John Murtha finds himself in out in Western Pennsylvania. You know, there's a seat that very likely could go from the Democrats to the Republicans depending on whether or not he's able to hold on to his seat.
And then out in eastern Pennsylvania, the northeastern part of the state, Democrat Paul Kanjorski is in a really fierce reelection battle as the mayor of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, Lou Barletta, is trying to unseat him. Barletta is a Republican who has championed what he calls some anti-illegal-immigration ordinances in his town that have gained national attention and apparently have gained him some supporters in this congressional race this year.
So guardedly - local politics trumping in some congressional races. Scott Gilbert, thanks so much for joining us.
You're welcome, good to be with you.
Scott Gilbert is news director of WITF Radio in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.