From much national coverage of yesterday's election in Pennsylvania's 21st district, centered on a hip neighborhood in one of America's most progressive cities, you'd never have guessed that Democrat Lindsay Powell was going to yeet a Republican challenger into space with more than two thirds of the vote, even though that's definitely what was going to happen because it's what always happens there.
Lindsay Powell, a Pittsburgh nonprofit leader, handily won the special election Tuesday to fill a vacant Allegheny County seat in the state House and restore Democrats' one-seat majority in the chamber.
Ms. Powell's victory was expected in the heavily Democratic district, and when the Associated Press called the race at about 8:15 p.m., she had received 82% of the vote. Her opponent, Republican nominee Erin Connolly Autenreith, had about 17%. That margin was likely to narrow: The vote tallies released shortly after polls closed at 8 p.m. were entirely made up of mail and absentee ballots, which tend to skew heavily Democratic.
Other media, though, live in a world of perfectly-poised horse races, where such numbers are carefully avoided.
"The vote will determine a swing state's power balance," posted The New York Times in a story so devoid of insight or local context and that it could have been written by an AI running on a Difference Engine made of potatoes. The only concession to inevitability were phrases tucked as close to the end as possible describing the Democrat as "a solid favorite" and quoting unnamed Republican officials as acknowledging the district "difficult to win."
82% at 8:15 p.m. is not "a solid favorite". 82% at 8:15 p.m. is a video on the Hydraulic Press YouTube channel with an egg in the thumbnail.
Powell "captures" the seat, writes Patch of a seat that's been held by Democrats since the Gilgamesh administration, was recently redistricted to be even bluer, and which osmosed effortlessly from the previous Dem to the new one.
The Pennsylvania Capital writes that Democrats "appear" to have won a race where one candidate won more than twice as many votes as their challenger, commanded an 11-to-1 fundraising advantage, and declared victory within minutes of the polls closing … "if results hold."
"Republicans keep losing in Pennsylvania," posted Newsweek, casting Lawrenceville as representative of "a key swing state at the upcoming 2024 presidential election."
The thing is that they don't do this sort of reporting for deep-red rural districts with similarly lop-sided outcomes, even when bigger things are on the line. A mountain staying red is normal, but the "heavily white 21st House District" being blue?
Congrats to Powell, who is, as you may have already guessed, the first Black woman to hold it.