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1994 Pennsylvania gubernatorial election

Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1994

← 1990 November 8, 1994 (1994-11-08) 1998 →
  Congressman Tom Ridge.jpg Mark Singel.jpg No image.svg
Nominee Tom Ridge Mark Singel Peg Luksik
Party Republican Democratic Constitution
Running mate Mark Schweiker Tom Foley Jim Clymer
Popular vote 1,627,976 1,430,099 460,269
Percentage 45.4% 39.9% 12.8%

Pennsylvania Governor Election Results by County, 1994.svg
County Results

Ridge:      30-40%      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%

Singel:      40-50%      50–60%      60–70%

Governor before election

Robert P. Casey

Elected Governor

Tom Ridge

The Pennsylvania gubernatorial election of 1994 was held on November 8, 1994. The incumbent governor, Bob Casey, Sr. (Democrat), was barred from seeking a third term by the state constitution. The Republican Party nominated Congressman Tom Ridge, while the Democrats nominated Mark Singel, Casey's lieutenant governor. Ridge went on to win the race with 45% of the vote. Singel finished with 39%, and Constitution Party candidate Peg Luksik finished third, garnering 12% of the vote.

Primary elections





Lt. Governor Singel was a well-known figure in the state and was a clear early frontrunner after serving six months as acting governor as Bob Casey underwent cancer treatments. However, his 1992 defeat by Lynn Yeakel in the 1992 Democratic primary for senate left the party feeling that Singel was vulnerable in a statewide election. Treasurer Catherine Baker Knoll, who was popular with older voters and siphoned the support of some labor groups from Singel, was viewed as his biggest threat, but state representative Dwight Evans, who mobilized urban minority voters, finished a somewhat surprising second. Former state Speaker of the House Bob O'Donnell and Yeakel, who was criticized for campaigning poorly in the close 1992 senate race, both saw their campaigns fail to get traction.[1]

Attorney General Ernie Preate, who was known for both being a tough prosecutor and working to reform the mental health system, was seen as the initial frontrunner, but his attempt was marred by a corruption controversy. Mike Fisher, a state senator and former candidate for lieutenant governor, sought to take advantage of Preate's missteps but was unable gain a majority of establishment support. Tom Ridge, who Republicans had initially tried to court to run in the 1990 election, slowly built name recognition and gained political backing due to his relatively moderate track record. [2]


Pennsylvania gubernatorial primary (Democratic), 1994[1]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Mark Singel 346,344 31.19
Democratic Dwight Evans 234,285 21.10
Democratic Catherine Baker Knoll 217,267 19.57
Democratic Lynn Yeakel 153,966 13.87
Democratic Chuck Volpe 122,627 11.04
Democratic Bob O'Donnell 23,113 2.08
Democratic Phillip Valenti 12,854 1.16
Pennsylvania gubernatorial primary (Republican), 1994[2]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Tom Ridge 344,708 34.58
Republican Ernie Preate 287,400 28.83
Republican Sam Katz 156,895 15.74
Republican Mike Fisher 139,712 14.02
Republican Jack Perry 68,069 6.83






Prior to the election, Singel appeared to be a candidate who would be difficult to beat; he had gained wide name recognition and a positive job appraisal for his service as acting governor during Bob Casey's battle with serious illness. In contrast, Ridge had been a relatively obscure US Congressman who was mostly unknown outside of his Erie base. Ridge proved to be a successful fundraiser and undercut support from Democrats in the socially liberal but fiscally conservative suburbs of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.[3]

Abortion became a key issue in the campaign. Peg Luksik ran a strong third party campaign in opposition to the Republican nominations of the pro-choice Ridge and Barbara Hafer in their most recent two gubernatorial campaigns. Singel, who is also pro-choice, gained only lukewarm support from his former boss Casey, a vocal critic of abortion policy.[3]

The tide began to turn against Singel after the revelation that he had voted to parole an individual named Reginald McFadden, who would later be charged for a series of murders in New York City. Ridge, whose campaign emphasized his "tough on crime" stance, took advantage of this situation, much in the manner that George H. W. Bush had used the Willie Horton incident against Michael Dukakis. Singel was further undercut by a lack of Democratic enthusiasm; turnout was particularly low in strongholds such as Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Scranton.[3]


Source Date Ridge (R) Singel (D) Luksik (C)
Greensburg Tribune-Review Nov. 7, 1994 37% 36% 17%
KDKA-TV Nov. 6, 1994 42% 39% 6%
Philadelphia Daily News Nov. 2, 1994 38% 30% 10%
Greensburg Tribune-Review Oct. 30, 1994 33% 31% 9%
KDKA-TV Oct. 23, 1994 39% 40% 5%
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Oct. 16, 1994 31% 38% 7%
Political Media Research Oct. 2, 1994 37% 43% -


Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 1994[4]
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage
Republican Tom Ridge Mark Schweiker 1,627,976 45.40%
Democratic Mark Singel Tom Foley 1,430,099 39.88%
Constitution Peg Luksik Jim Clymer 460,269 12.84%
Libertarian Patrick Fallon Vince Hatton 33,602 0.94%
Reform Tom Holloway Mark Freeman 33,235 0.93%
Write-ins Write-ins 345 0.01%
Totals 3,585,526 100.00%
Voter turnout (Voting age population) 60.98%


  1. ^ [].
  2. ^ [].
  3. ^ a b c Kennedy, John J. (2006). Pennsylvania Elections: Statewide Contests From 1950-2004. University Press of America. ISBN 9780761832799.
  4. ^ The Pennsylvania Manual, volume 112, pp. 7-18 & 7-19