PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Labor Day is the traditional kickoff of the campaign season, but everything is different this year.
The old rule about Labor Day kicking off the political season is out. With early mail-in voting, candidates have an incentive to start long before Labor Day.
Have you noticed those political lawn signs sprouting up early? Normally, that doesn’t happen until October but not this year.
“If you’re starting on Labor Day, you’re starting too late,” says political strategist Mike Mikus.
With mail-in ballots soon available, candidates who follow the traditional timetable miss early voters.
That explains the television ads for state Attorney General Josh Shapiro and his Republican challenger Heather Heidelbaugh.
“Seats like state treasurer, auditor general, and attorney general are incredibly important positions to the people of Pennsylvania,” says Mikus.
The Monmouth Poll has Democratic incumbents Shapiro and state Treasurer Joe Torsella ahead of Republicans Heidelbaugh and Stacy Garrity.
“It is very difficult to knock out an incumbent,” says Mikus.
But it does happen. The AG race is up for grabs between Dauphin County controller Timothy DeFoor and former Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Nina Ahmad.
And in a first for this state, both major party nominees are persons of color.
“Good public policy that looks at our marginalized is not only compassionate but actually cost-effective. Those are what I want to bring to this office and use it as a platform as an independent voice where I report only to the constituents of Pennsylvania,” Ahmad told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Labor Day.
“Experience matters,” says DeFoor. “What this Commonwealth needs is they need an individual who has done the job in the past, is currently doing the job. So from day one, someone like me, the only thing I would need to start working is the password to my computer.”
Besides the three statewide races, don’t forget races for members of Congress, state Senate and state House that are also on the ballot.