1982 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania

← 1976 November 2, 1982 1988 →
  John Heinz.jpg No image.svg
Nominee John Heinz Cyril Wecht
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 2,136,418 1,412,965
Percentage 59.3% 39.2%

Pennsylvania Senatorial Election Results by County, 1982.svg
County Results

Heinz:      50-60%      60-70%      70-80%

Wecht:      50–60%      60–70%

U.S. senator before election

John Heinz

Elected U.S. Senator

John Heinz

The 1982 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania was held on November 2, 1982. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator John Heinz successfully sought re-election to another term, defeating Democratic nominee Cyril Wecht.

Major candidates




John Heinz's Democratic opponent in the 1982 election was Allegheny County commissioner and former coroner Cyril Wecht, who lacked significant name recognition outside of Pittsburgh, his home town. Although the 1982 elections were a setback nationally for incumbent President Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party, neither Heinz nor incumbent Republican governor Dick Thornburgh, who was also up for re-election in 1982, were challenged by Democrats with statewide prominence. Wecht ran a low-budget campaign lacking the assets to boost his name recognition; the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a headline dubbing the race "The Race for Senator No One Seemed to Notice."[1] Despite this, Heinz ran a cautious campaign, running as a moderate due to Pennsylvania's unemployment, 11%, one of the highest in the nation at the time, as well as the declining health of Pennsylvania's coal mining, manufacturing and steel industries. In the end, Heinz won the election by a wide margin, winning 59.3% of the popular vote. Wecht won 39.2% of the popular vote.[1]


General election results[2]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican H. John Heinz III (Incumbent) 2,136,418 59.28% +6.89%
Democratic Cyril Wecht 1,412,965 39.20% -7.59%
Libertarian Barbara I. Karkutt 19,244 0.53% +0.53%
Socialist Workers William H. Thomas 18,951 0.53 +0.41%
Consumer Liane Norman 16,530 0.46% +0.46%
Majority 723,453 20.08% +14.48%
Totals 3,604,108 100.00% align="right"

See also


  1. ^ a b Sundquist, Renée M. Lamis ; with a foreword by James L. (2009). The realignment of Pennsylvania politics since 1960 : two-party competition in a battleground state. University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press. p. 109. ISBN 027103419X.
  2. ^ "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 1982" (PDF). Office of the Clerk of the U.S. House. Retrieved 9 July 2014.