Special Elections scheduled for tomorrow, Feb. 7, in three state House Districts in Allegheny County previously held by Democrats will likely result in a Democratic majority in the state House once the elections are certified. Since early January, this scenario has raised the question – will Speaker Rozzi retain the gavel or relinquish it to his caucus leader, Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, who was poised to become speaker before the unexpected election of Rozzi last month?
According to an article in the Associated Press last week, the speaker admitted that he isn’t certain he wants to give up the job.
“I know how to count votes, first of all,” Rozzi said candidly in a lengthy interview with AP reporter Mark Scolforo. “So, you know, at the end of the day she still has to get the votes to become speaker of the House.”
McClinton responded to this by saying that she would still be “honored” to be speaker, and that once the House’s vacancies are filled, she will “trust my colleagues will make the best decision to move Pennsylvania forward.”
In the meantime, Speaker Rozzi, who has cancelled session in the House until late February, continues his statewide listening tour with stops last week in State College and Wilkes-Barre. The House remains at a stalemate, and a six-legislator working group has not yet reached a resolution on internal operating rules or on Speaker Rozzi’s top priority – a Constitutional amendment to provide victims of childhood sexual abuse whose statute of limitations have expired an opportunity to file lawsuits.