The campaign's final weeks were marked by almost wall-to-wall campaign spots, most of the attack ads produced by outside groups, producing vitriol so incessant that voters could almost be excused if they flung their remotes across the room and stayed away from the polls. It's hard to attract an electorate when you're repelling them every 15 minutes.
As it turned out, 45 percent of registered Pennsylvanians went to the polls Tuesday, a slight drop from the nearly 49 percent who turned out for the 2006 midterm election.
The angrier voters had more reasons to go the polls, and now Pennsylvania has turned red. Pat Toomey, a true Republican conservative, will represent a state where Democrats have a 1.2 million voter advantage and that has become increasingly moderate on social issues.
This marks the first time since Tom Ridge's inauguration in 1995 (note: elected 1994, inaugurated in '95) that "Harrisburg will be a wholly owned Republican subsidiary," says Franklin and Marshall's G. Terry Madonna.
"People believe that politicians lie and that we can't trust them, that they won't do what they say," Madonna says. "Sometimes the real fear is that they'll do what they say and, in reality, they do. With complete control, the Republicans will push for and get 75 to 80 percent of their agenda."
Gov.-elect Tom Corbett steered clear of hard specifics other than wanting to do away with the legislators' fleet of cars (that will put a dent in the $5 billion state deficit) and demolish the Liquor Control Board, something his Republican predecessors Dick Thornburgh and Ridge attempted and failed to do.
Governors come and go. But the odious LCB, it appears, is forever.
It remains to be seen whether Corbett will adopt the slash-and-burn boss style of his "role model," New Jersey governor and rising party star Christopher J. Christie, or take a more cautious route. One thing's for sure: He won't be confused for Ed Rendell, the best friend Philadelphia has had in the capital for decades. With both chambers Republican, Corbett will most likely get his budgets passed with time to spare, ending one of the colossal time-and-budget wastes of the last eight years.
"We probably know less about what Tom Corbett is going to do than any governor in modern history," says Madonna, director of the Center for Politics and Public Affairs. "He's had the luxury of not being specific. He's been remarkably vague about how he will deal with the deficits. He ran the classic front-runner campaign: Say as little as possible, do as little as possible."
See, that's how you win elections these days: Big money and few promises, and running against the status quo.
Tuesday marked the end of Philadelphia State Rep. John M. Perzel's more than three decades in Harrisburg, including stints as House majority leader and speaker. He was ultimately a casualty of state Attorney General Corbett's aggressive indictment of a bloated, expensive, overly political legislature that's engaged in a permanent campaign funded by taxpayers. Now, it will be fascinating to see how Gov. Corbett will work with that bloated, expensive, overly political legislature.
I'm no lover of polls, but what they clearly show is that voters are equally angry with Democrats and Republicans, according to a CNN survey. They're angry at incumbents. They're angry at Obama. They're angry at Bush. And they're willing to blame almost anyone ever elected to office for getting us into this economic mess.
Even with Democrats having a distinct registration advantage, the GOP fared magnificently, indicating that anger and change, and not so much hope - remember hope? - were motivators in getting people to the polls.
Americans are not merely angry, but increasingly impatient. They want that change thing yesterday. They complain that Obama has done too little when, from where I sit, he's done more than any president in modern history in less than two years. Voters may not like what he's done, but that's not the same as not doing enough.
In their anger and impatience, voters are acting like toddlers. They want something else that's different and better, and they want that now, failing to see that governing is difficult and complicated and change, true change, takes time.
Those Pennsylvanians just got their wish Tuesday. The culture will change, all right. Now it remains to be seen if it will get any better.
Contact columnist Karen Heller at 215-854-2586 or firstname.lastname@example.org.