Results Of May 16 Special Election Will Determine Control Of PA House

Once again, special elections to fill vacant state house seats will decide which party will control the Pennsylvania State House. These elections will be held on primary Election Day, Tuesday May 16.

One seat in Northumberland County is being held to replace Lynda Schlegel Culver who resigned earlier this year after winning a special election for the State Senate. Most observers consider that seat will be a lock for the Republicans, due to their significant party registration edge.
The spotlight has been on the race in the 163rd District, which was left vacant by the resignation of Rep Mike Zabel, who had come under attack due to sexual harassment charges made against him. The election pits Democrat Heather Boyd vs. Republican Katie Ford. Significant money from both sides has poured in the race.

The Democrat has received support from labor unions and environmental groups (including $5,000 from the Pa Sierra Club PAC and $2,500 from Climate Cabinet Action PAC according to Politics PA). Boyd also has received significant support from Governor Shapiro, who is running TV commercials on her behalf.

The Democrats have a registration edge in the district, but the pundits have not ruled out a Republican upset. The Democrats would need to win one of these two elections to maintain control of the House. There are 203 seats in the House. Democrats currently hold 101 seats to the Republicans 100 seats.

The outcome of the election will have a decisive impact on the direction the Shapiro Administration will be able to take on issues such as climate change policy. The Senate will remain under Republican control with no open seats in the Tuesday election.