Discover more from Wonkette
Pennsylvania Dems Re-Retake State House In Third Special Election This Year
It's Deja Vu all over again, again. And another special election may be on the way.
Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives re-returned to narrow Democratic control after a special election yesterday — the third special election for the body this year. In an overwhelming 64 percent to 34 percent win, Pittsburgh voters chose Democrat Lindsay Powell over Republican Erin Autenreith, giving Dems a one-seat majority in the state House.
Powell is a former congressional aide who worked for Sen. Chuck Schumer and for Rep. Hakeem Jeffries; she’s currently director of workforce strategies for InnovatePGH, a nonprofit seeking to make Pittsburgh a tech hub. Autenreith is chair of the Shaler Township Republican Committee. The district is heavily Democratic, and Powell becomes the first African-American woman to represent it. She’ll replace former state Rep. Sara Innamorato, a progressive Democrat who was reelected for a third term in last fall’s midterms but resigned in July to run for Allegheny County executive.
We at Wonkette would like to urge members of the Pennsylvania House to try sitting still for a few minutes, since this was the third special election to decide control of the body this year. Last fall, Democrats took a one-vote lead in the House, and we thought that was pretty cool, but we didn’t think we’d have to keep returning to the topic so often.
But before the 2023 legislative session began, there was GOP clusterfuckery: As you may recall — I only dimly remember it myself! — one of the winning Democrats last fall, Tony DeLuca, died before the election but won anyway. Then two other Democrats were nominated to cabinet posts by Gov. Josh Shapiro, so despite the electoral results giving Democrats a 102 to 101-seat lead, Republicans insisted that the speakership should be theirs since there were only 99 actual seated Democrats to the Rs’ 101. The People had spoken, and Republicans didn’t like what they said.
Happily, that was resolved semi-amicably in January with a surprise bipartisan vote to name Democrat Mark Rozzi speaker; he agreed to act as a caretaker until all three vacancies were filled in special elections, but there was still a lot of sniping. Finally, in the February 7 special elections, Democrats won all three open seats, and Rozzi handed the speaker’s gavel to Rep. Joanna McClinton.
Dear Readers, it pains us to admit that Yr Wonkette completely missed 2023’s second Pennsylvania power vacuum and special election, for which we’ll just take the New York Times’s word:
In May, Heather Boyd, a Democrat, won a closely watched special election in southeast Delaware County, part of the Philadelphia suburbs. Top Democrats, including President Biden and Governor Shapiro, had framed the contest as crucial to protecting reproductive rights in Pennsylvania.
But on the same day, in a separate special election, Republicans retained a state House seat in north-central Pennsylvania with the triumph of Michael Stender, a school board member and firefighter.
Then in July, Innamorato resigned, the House recessed until the special election, which Powell won, and here we are. We do at least appreciate that so far all the shuffling — a total of five seats — in the Pennsylvania House has ended up with Democrats in the majority again, hooray, which ought to be welcome news for Gov. Shapiro (the state Senate, however, has a solid Republican majority, and none of those guys seem likely to go running for something else).
Oh, hey, wanna hear something funny? In November, Democratic Rep. John Galloway is running for a judgeship, so if he wins — which is likely according to the experts — the state House will be tied up again at 101 seats per party, until whenever the special election for Galloway’s seat can be held.
In conclusion, we still love democracy, but Pennsylvania, boy I don’t know. Somebody stop the record player and we’ll see who’s still standing.
Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. If you can, please subscribe, or if it’s more convenient, you can make a one-time donation with the button below, which for all we know may also tip the balance in the Pennsylvania House again.