Sometimes It Does Matter: The 2016 Presidential Primary Election in Pennsylvania


  • John J. Kennedy



Since the first presidential primary was held in Pennsylvania in the spring of 1912, rarely has the state truly impacted the race. A combination of forces, notably the rather late date that it has traditionally been scheduled relative to other states has all but guaranteed that the presumptive nominees of the Democratic and Republican Parties have long ago been selected. As long as this remains the case, it’s difficult to imagine the state’s voters ever being able to winnow a field of candidates, no matter how large or small it is. However, on rare occasions, the lateness of the Pennsylvania’s primary election allows the state’s voters to be one, if not the deciding force on who lays final claim to the nomination. Such was the case on April 24, 2016, when Pennsylvanians essentially settled the contest on both sides, elevating Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump toward their ultimate nominations.