Democrats swept the Special Elections for three open state House seats in Allegheny County, marking the first time in more than 12 years that the lower chamber of the General Assembly has been in Democratic control. This gives the Democrats a one seat edge in the 203 member body.
The vacancies were created following the death of Rep. Tony DeLuca and the resignations of Summer Lee and Austin Davis due to their elections to other offices. The three newest members of the chamber are: Joe McAndrew representing the 32nd House District, Abigail Salisbury representing the 34th House District and Matt Gergely representing the 35th House District.
As of this writing, it is unclear if there will be any changes to who will preside over the House now that the chamber is back to full compliment. As previously reported, the current session started off with Republicans holding a nominal majority for the first few weeks of session despite Democrats winning a majority of the seats in the General Election due to the aforementioned vacancies. With neither party able to garner enough support for a Speaker candidate, Republicans nominated Democrat Mark Rozzi in a surprising twist. Despite Rozzi being selected to serve as speaker in a bipartisan vote, the work of the House has been at a virtual standstill as the chamber has yet to adopt operating rules or form committees. Rozzi’s support as speaker has been tenuous at best as Democrats had previously rallied around Majority Leader Joanna McClinton to preside over the chamber and Republicans charging that Rozzi reneged on his commitment to change his party registration to Independent.
The House and Senate return to session this week.