The midterm election saw several high-profile elections in Pennsylvania, starting with the US Senate race between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz. Fetterman, the current Lt. Governor for PA, won the campaign to replace retiring Pat Toomey.
Next, as no surprise to anyone, Democrat candidate Josh Shapiro easily won the gubernatorial election to replace term limited Tom Wolf. Shapiro, the current Attorney General, won the election by over 14 points which was one of the largest margins in recent history. While, the Republicans did retain control of the PA Senate, the large win by Josh Shapiro likely had an impact on Republican candidates in House of Representative where the majority is now in question. Depending on the ongoing tally and eventual recounts for at least two House seats, the Democrats are poised to take control from the Republicans in the first time in over a decade.
First, Todd Stephens, a Montgomery County Republican incumbent currently has a 14-vote lead against Democrat challenger Melissa Cerrato. Next, in the 142nd District (Bucks) the race between Democrat Mark Moffa and Republican Joe Hogan is down to two votes with unconfirmed reports of voting machine miscalculation. If either party wins both seats they will have a 102 to 100 Majority. However, if they each win a seat, the House could be split evenly at 101-101 (out of 203) because there’s one vacancy due to a death of a Western PA Democrat Legislator, Tony DeLuca. Rep DeLuca died too close to the election to have him removed from the ballot, but still received 85% of the vote! Two add to the confusion, the Democrats will lose two more members who eventually have to resign to take other elected offices - Summer Lee who won a US House seat and Austin Davis who will be the new Lt. Governor under Shapiro.
The Speaker is the one who schedules special elections for these vacancies, and it is reported that if the Democrats hold the speakership, those elections may be called for March, but if Republicans hold the House, they will likely be called to be held in conjunction with the May16 primary.
In the meantime, the House has three Session days scheduled for the November lame duck session and the Senate is only in for one day (for now), but it is unclear what legislation they will work on, if any. However, they will hold inner-caucus leadership elections. Joanna McClinton, the current Democrat House Leader, has announced she will run for Speaker if/when the Democrats gain control. The Senate will also see changes due in part to the retirement of three leaders, namely Jake Corman the current President Pro Tempore.
Legislation of interest will all have to be reintroduced in the new ‘23/’24 Legislative Session, and the new Governor, leadership changes in the General assembly and the close majority in the House will definitely be of impact to any advocacy.