Pennsylvania Democrats successfully flipped the commonwealth’s House of Representatives by a single seat and plan to advance a “center-left” agenda, marking another significant midterm election loss for the Republican Party.
Democrats in the Keystone State experienced considerable midterm victories after a forecasted red wave failed to materialize. Candidates flipped a net total of 12 districts, granting them precisely enough for a majority of 102 to 101, according to a report from the Associated Press released earlier this month.
“Our leadership team will be presiding over a center-left majority, and not a left-left majority,” Pennsylvania State Rep. Peter Schweyer, a Democrat, said in a statement to Spotlight PA. “And so we’re going to be pushing progressive values, but at the same time be mindful that this is, in fact, a purple state.”
Republicans currently hold 113 seats in the chamber while Democrats control 88, while two seats are presently vacant. Members of the former party have controlled both the Pennsylvania House and the Pennsylvania Senate since 2011, although lawmakers have been blocked from advancing their agenda for the past eight years by Democratic Governor Tom Wolf.
Democrats had claimed soon after the election that they had turned the commonwealth’s lower chamber. “We can confidently say Democrats will control the State House next year,” the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee said on social media.
The commonwealth will soon be entering its third consecutive four-year cycle under a Democratic chief executive since Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro decisively defeated Republican State Senator Doug Mastriano in the gubernatorial election. The race, for which Shapiro had been the favorite throughout the entire midterm election cycle, was closely watched in the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, as most new regulations on abortion from the Republican-dominated legislature had been nixed by Wolf.
Last month, Shapiro reported $44 million in expenditures, surpassing the former $42 million record established by former Governor Ed Rendell in the 2002 cycle, even as Mastriano spent less than $3 million. Establishment Republicans had avoided funding Mastriano due to his presence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. While the Democratic Governors Association contributed $5.5 million to Shapiro, the Republican Governors Association provided little support to Mastriano.
Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Senate race between Democratic Lt. Governor John Fetterman and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz also ended in a victory for the former candidate. The race was marked by controversy over Fetterman’s health issues following his stroke in May, which voters were able to see in the contest’s only debate. Fetterman, who linked his health struggles with the challenges faced by Pennsylvanians, provided choppy responses as Oz pressed the former Braddock mayor on his Left-leaning platform, although the only publicized meeting between the two candidates failed to change the outcome of the election.
Voters also reelected Tony DeLuca, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, despite the fact that he passed away last month after a battle with lymphoma. “While we’re incredibly saddened by the loss of Representative Tony DeLuca, we are proud to see the voters to continue to show their confidence in him and his commitment to Democratic values by re-electing him posthumously,” the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee remarked on social media. “A special election will follow soon.”
Republicans took a slim majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, while Democrats will retain control of the U.S. Senate, falling far short of many pundits’ expectations of significant Republican gains. The midterm elections were expected by many to be a referendum on the Biden administration’s economic performance, although many commentators said that the lackluster Republican showing might be a result of poor candidate quality.