Democrats Take Control Of Pennsylvania House For the First Time In 12 Years

( In last Tuesday’s state House special elections, Pennsylvania Democrats swept the board, winning all three seats and taking control of the chamber following a months-long dispute with Republicans, according to CNN.

The Democrats easily took the Pittsburgh-area seats during the November election, claiming a 102 to 101 majority over the GOP for the first time in over a decade. But with two of the House members leaving for higher office and a third dying in October, Republicans outnumbered Democrats, prompting the two parties to arrive at a power-sharing deal.

During the first state House session last month, a group of Republican members, including the party’s leadership, joined with their Democrat colleagues in electing Rep. Mark Rozzi as speaker of the state House.

As part of the deal, Rozzi was to switch his party registration from Democrat to Independent, leaving the state House tied. However, Rozzi didn’t drop his Democrat registration and recessed the House indefinitely after a consensus could not be reached on legislation.

But last Tuesday’s special election put an end to the uncertainty, giving the Democrats a firm majority in the state House.

In the state’s 32nd district, Democrat Joe McAndrew was elected to replace the late Rep. Tony DeLuca who died in October but still won reelection in November with 86 percent of the vote.

District 34 Rep. Summer Lee was elected to the US House of Representatives in November. She was replaced last Tuesday by Democrat Abigail Salisbury.

In District 35, Democrat Matt Gergely was elected to replace outgoing Rep. Austin Davis who was elected Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania in November.

With Democrat Governor Josh Shapiro’s win in November and the House now in Democrat control, the party will be better positioned to influence the state’s budget.

It is not clear whether Rep. Rozzi will remain speaker or if the gavel will go to Democrat leader Rep. Joanna McClinton.

Another special election for the state House will be held soon to fill the seat left vacant when Republican Lynda Culver won last a state Senate special election two weeks ago.