Democrats to control Pennsylvania House after special election sweep

Pennsylvania Democrats have won three state House special elections, plans, and control of chambers after a months-long battle with Republicans.

Democrats easily won Pittsburgh-area races in November’s general election, claiming a 102-101 majority – their first in more than a decade. But with two members leaving for higher office and another dying shortly before the election, Republicans effectively ousted Democrats, forcing the parties to strike an uneasy power-sharing deal.

That’s over now. Democrats have firm control of the body, ending the dramatic order of Commonwealth politics. Gov. Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, was overwhelmingly elected last year and Democratic U.S. Sen. John Fetterman flipped the seat previously held by Republican Sen. Pete Toomey. By winning the state House, Democrats will enjoy greater influence in crafting Pennsylvania’s all-important budget bill. Their victories also set another mark ahead of the 2024 election, when Pennsylvania will again be in the presidential race.

When the state House began its session last month, a group of Republicans, including members of the party’s leadership, joined with Democrats to elect Democratic Rep. Mark Rozzi as speaker. But the chamber has been mired in uncertainty ever since and has yet to pass operating rules.

While Democrats now hold a majority of seats in the chamber, it’s unclear whether Rosey, Democratic leader state Rep. Joanna McClinton or someone else will have it.

In the 32nd District, Democrat Joe McAndrew will replace longtime state Rep. Tony DeLuca, who died in October, but still won 86 percent of the vote in November.

In the 34th District, Democrat Abigail Salisbury will replace Summer Lee, who was elected to the U.S. House in November.

And in the 35th District, Democrat Matt Gergely will replace Austin Davis, who was elected lieutenant governor as part of Shapiro’s ticket.

Another vacant seat will soon be filled after Republican Linda Culver’s victory in a state Senate special election last week.

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