PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Some call this an off-year election, but for Pennsylvanians, this is the year we elect a new governor, a new senator, and many other officials.
This year will be one of the most intense and expensive political years this commonwealth has ever experienced.
The last time Pennsylvania nominated a new governor and U.S. senator without an incumbent running for either office was 1958. That's what's happening this year.
"A watershed election in Pennsylvania," says Mike DeVanney, a Republican political strategist.
"The stakes are just huge for both parties," says Mike Mikus, a Democratic political strategist.
"We probably have the most prominent, the most-watched, and maybe the most expensive U.S. Senate race in the country," notes Khari Mosley, a Pittsburgh political analyst.
"Every election we always say it's the most important election, it's the most important time, but this time it is," adds Larry Ceisler, a Philadelphia political analyst.
Political analysts agree that the individuals Pennsylvanians elect in 2022 will dictate which party controls the U.S. Senate and whether the Republican legislature in Harrisburg can be kept in check by a Democratic governor.
"All signs point to a significant and watershed election year for Republicans," DeVanney told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Monday.
Republican optimism is why so many Republicans are running for both offices.
For governor, leading Republicans include former U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA Sen. Jake Corman, former U.S. Rep. Melissa Hart, PA Sen. Doug Mastriano, former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain and Delaware County businessman Dave White.
"It is basically a free for all," says Ceisler.
Democrats, so far at least, seem settled on Attorney General Josh Shapiro as their gubernatorial candidate. But for U.S. Senate, two Democrats from Pittsburgh and two from Philadelphia are running.
"I think it's as much about ideology as it is about geography," says Mosley.
Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and PA Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta are perceived as more liberal than moderate U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb.
The leading G.O.P. canidates, according to analysts, are Philadelphia commentator Kathy Barnette, Philadelphia real estate developer Jeff Bartos, hedge fund manager Dave McCormick, former ambassador Carla Sands and celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz.
And every Republican wants Donald Trump's endorsement.
"President Trump's approval ratings among primary voting Republicans is astronomical," says DeVanney.
And money will be no object.
"The U.S. Senate race will become the most expensive U.S. Senate race in American history. Both parties will throw everything they can at it," says Mikus.
In addition to governor and senator, we will also elect 17 members of Congress, 25 state senators and 203 state representatives. The primary is May 17.
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