For the first time since 2010, there’s a new sheriff in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Democratic candidates won all three special elections for seats in Allegheny County to give the party an insurmountable 102-100 advantage in the chamber.
Joe McAndrew (HD-32), Abigail Salisbury (HD-34) and Matthew Gergely (HD-35) all posted substantial wins in the primarily Democratic districts around Pittsburgh.
“We won…again. If that’s not a record it should be,” said Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D-Philadelphia).
Back in November, Dems won 102 of the 203 House races, only to lose two seats to resignation for higher office for Summer Lee and Austin Davis, as well as with the October passing of long-time state Rep. Tony DeLuca who was re-elected posthumously.
With the election of 108th District Republican Lynda Culver to the state Senate in last week’s 27th District special election, the table was set at 101-99 in favor of the GOP entering Tuesday’s special elections.
The PA House has been in a state of limbo since early January, as the two parties squabbled first over the Speaker’s position, then over the rules that would govern the 2023-24 session.
Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-Berks) was elected Speaker after receiving the support of 16 Republicans along with the entire Democratic delegation. After a stalemate in determining the rules of play, Rozzi appointed a six-member panel to assist with a statewide “listening tour” to receive input from the public as to what it wanted its lawmakers to do.
It remains to be seen of Rozzi will remain with the Speaker’s gavel, He has indicated that he hopes to retain the chair, while some observers expect Democratic House Leader Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia/Delaware) to assume the role in the upcoming days and weeks.
“When we return to the floor of the House, we will be in a different predicament than we were in Tuesday, January 3 [when] it was necessary for us to build consensus and have a compromise member for the Speaker of the House,” said McClinton to Allegheny County Democrats Tuesday evening. “So while we cannot get ahead of the days to come [which include certification of tonight’s winners] please stay tuned to see what the will of this body will be on the date that we return to voting session.”