Stop me if you’ve heard this before.
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is set to return to a 101-101 deadlock, after a victory by Rep. John Galloway (D-Bucks) for district judge on Tuesday.
Galloway overwhelmingly won the race for Magisterial District Justice in Falls Township and will soon resign his state house seat.
That means another tie between Democrats and Republicans for the majority in the chamber. The last time that occurred? Just months ago when Sara Innamorato resigned her Allegheny County seat to run for county executive.
That means another special election in the Commonwealth. There have been seven “specials” in 2023 alone, coming in the 21st, 32nd, 34th, 35th, 108th and 163rd legislative districts, as well as the 27th senatorial district. Democrats are 5-1 in the state House races and 0-1 in the senate.
- HD-21: Lindsay Powell (D) d. Erin Connolly Autenreith (R), 65.4 – 34.4
- HD-32: Joe McAndrew (D) d. Clay Walker (R), 74.6 – 24.8
- HD-34: Abigail Salisbury (D) d. Robert Pagane (R), 87.6 – 12.1
- HD-35: Mathew R. Gergely (D) d. Don Nevills (R), 73.7 – 25.0
- HD-108: Michael Stender (R) d. Trevor Finn (D), 58.4 – 38.2
- HD-163: Heather Boyd (D) d. Katie Ford (R), 60.2 – 38.6
- SD-27: Lynda Schlegel Culver (R) d. Patricia Lawton (D), 68.7 – 31.3
In theory, the 63-year-old Galloway could continue serving in the state House until he’s sworn in as a judge in January. That would mean the special election to replace him would not be held until March 2024.
Nicole Reigelman, a spokesperson for Speaker of the House Joanna McClinton (D-Philadelphia/Delaware), said in an email that since Galloway has yet to resign, no special election has been called.
Section 628 of the Pennsylvania Election Code states, “Whenever a vacancy shall occur in either house of the General Assembly whether or not it then be in session, the presiding officer of such house shall, within ten (10) days after the happening of the vacancy, issue a writ of election to the proper county board or boards of election and to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, for a special election to fill said vacancy, which election shall be held at the next ensuing primary, municipal or general election scheduled at least sixty (60) days after the issuance of the writ or such other earlier date which is at least sixty (60) days following the issuance of the writ as the presiding officer may deem appropriate: Provided, however, That should the Governor after the issuance of the said writ of election advise the presiding officer that the General Assembly will be called into extraordinary session prior to the date set for such special election, the presiding officer may countermand the writ theretofore issued and shall issue a new writ of election, fixing therein such earlier date therefor as is deemed expedient, but which shall not be less than sixty (60) days after the issuance of said writ: Provided further, That if the vacancy shall occur less than seven (7) months prior to the expiration of the term, a special election shall be held only if in the opinion of the presiding officer the election is in the public interest.
Pennsylvania holds special elections on Tuesdays, so working 60 days back from an anticipated writ would place the election on the following dates:
Special Election Date
January 16 – writ issued by November 17
January 23 – writ issued by November 24
January 30 – writ issued by December 1