Democrats Sweep Allegheny County Special Elections, Take House Majority

Democrats won special elections in three state House districts in Allegheny County last week and now officially hold a razor-thin majority as House lawmakers convene for session later this month.

Initial returns had Joe McAndrew, Abigail Salisbury and Matthew Gergely winning in the heavily Democratic 32nd, 34th and 35th districts, respectively. House Democrats now hold a 102-101 edge, which will soon become a temporary 102-100 majority with the pending resignation of state Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver, R-Northumberland, who was elected to the state Senate last week.

“Our caucus has never been more unified,” Democratic House Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, said in response to the victories. When asked about her chances of becoming House Speaker, she said, “stay tuned to see what the will of this body will be on the date that we return to voting session.”

Current Speaker Mark Rozzi, D-Berks, has said he would not step aside to support her ascent; however, he has announced that the state House will return to session a week earlier than previously scheduled with voting days now planned for February 21, 22 and 23.

Speaker Rozzi has also shared that he and his bipartisan working group of six House lawmakers are meeting to discuss the ideas shared at statewide listening sessions focused on finalizing rules for the House. “The next steps … are to create an executive summary of the listening tour stops. We plan for new rules to be introduced when the House returns to session,” Rozzi said.


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