Dems Lead GOP in Battle Over PA House with Two Uncalled Races Remaining
HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - Even after strong performances in crucial races across Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Democrats may also be on the verge of taking control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
New House maps, as the result of redistricting earlier this year, were expected to slightly favor Democrats. That being said, with 113 Republicans and 90 Democrats currently in the 203-member House, a Democratic majority seemed like a tall-task, regardless of the new map. However, after strong performances up and down the ballot on Tuesday, especially in blue suburbs and purple counties, the ambitious goal could become reality.
To win a majority, Democrats will need to pick up one of two seats in races that have not been called. Earlier Thursday afternoon, Democrats needed two of three races, but the race for the 144th District in Bucks County was officially called for Democratic challenger Brian Monroe Thursday evening. Munroe defeated Republican incumbent Rep. Todd Polinchock by roughly 400 votes.
Rep. Polinchock shared a post on Facebook Thursday afternoon which reads:
“Thank you to my supporters who gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to serve my community. God bless.”
Democrats now need to pick up either the 142nd or 151st Districts, located in Bucks and Montgomery Counties, respectively, where the margins are currently razor-thin. In the race for the open 142nd District, Democrat Mark Moffa leads by two-votes over Republican Joseph Hogan. In the 151st District, Republican incumbent Todd Stephens maintains a 26-vote lead over Democratic challenger Melissa Cerrato.
In both counties, in-person and mail-ballots have been counted, it’s now a matter of military or overseas ballots that can arrive through Nov. 15, as well as any provisional ballots that may have to be adjudicated.
Undated or incorrectly dated ballots, as well as provisional ballots could prompt litigation in these tight races.
“There’s no question about it, there's going to be litigation moving forward. It's not even going to be in the next few weeks, it's going to be in the next few days,” said State Representative Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie). “People are going to try to fight this majority tooth and nail. You have a majority who is used to being in the majority and they don't know how to lose,” the Democratic Policy Committee Chairman added.
Regardless of inevitable litigation, Bizzarro says he, and House Democrats, are very confident they will take the majority for the first time in over a decade, come January.
“I am very confident in our prospects of getting the majority this cycle. The House hasn't had the majority in over ten years, they haven't had full control of the legislature for the better part of 30 years,” said Bizzarro. “This has been a long time coming, and we're excited to work with our next governor, Josh Shapiro,” he added.
Bizzarro attributes the success of Pennsylvania Democrats to their ground game, mobilization efforts, and candidate quality across the commonwealth.
“We had a much more aggressive ground game, we had better candidates, and we were more organized than the other side. Our candidates have knocked, collectively, over a million doors in 2022,” said Bizzarro. “And this is what happens as a result of that, you pick up seats and you win a majority, even if it's going to be a slim majority, we are still going to have a majority,” he added.
ErieNewsNow received the following statement from a spokesperson for the House Republican Caucus:
“We believe Democrats claiming the majority at this time is premature and we are continuing to closely monitor a number of races where votes are still being counted.”
With Democrats picking up the 144th District in Bucks County, the current seat count for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, as of Thursday evening, is 101 Democrats and 100 Republicans.