Former Pennsylvania revenue secretary Tom Wolf (D) defeated embattled first-term Gov. Tom Corbett (R) on Tuesday, winning by wide margins across a state beset by budget deficits.
Exit polls showed Wolf running ahead of Corbett by wide margins among all age groups except those over 65, who split evenly between the two candidates. Wolf won every region of the state except the deeply conservative central counties.
Corbett’s loss is historic: Since Pennsylvania began allowing governors to seek two consecutive terms in 1970, every governor has won reelection. Corbett will be the first governor to serve only one term.
Corbett, the former state attorney general, won election over Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato (D) in 2010 by a nine-point margin. But his term got off to a rocky start almost from the beginning after revelations about Corbett’s investigation into former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
At a time when most states are generating big surpluses, Pennsylvania was running a deficit of about $1 billion. Corbett’s approval rating plummeted early in his tenure and never recovered.
Polls showed Wolf leading by double digits throughout the race.