Last updated: February 19. 2013 4:21PM - 114 Views

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IF Pennsylvanians were hoping their results Tuesday would help end the gridlock in Washington or alter the political calculus in Harrisburg, they had reason to be disappointed.

Bob Casey's re-election helped the Democrats keep a hold on the U.S. Senate, but the same state gave Republicans added strength in the U.S. House.

Once considered a sure bet for re-election, Casey was forced to step up his campaign against Republican coal mine operator Tom Smith in the closing weeks. Casey's return to Washington will contribute to his party's increased Senate majority, which will stand at 55 against the GOP's 45 if two independents decide to vote with the Democrats.

In the U.S. House, Republicans will maintain control with the help of Keith Rothfus' win in Pennsylvania's 12th District. Since Pennsylvania lost a seat in the national reapportionment that followed the census, the state's U.S. House delegation will go from a 12-7 split, Republicans vs. Democrats, to a 13-5 GOP advantage.

As if that weren't enough to show Pennsylvania to be a state of ticket splitters, voters chose three Democrats for the state executive offices of attorney general, auditor general and treasurer, while allowing Republicans to keep control of the Legislature.

If this mixed result suggests that voters approached the races and candidates individually, rather than as a straight-party or ideological exercise, then there may be hope for breaking the gridlock yet.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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