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Democrats (Re)Take Control of Pennsylvania House

By Ben Williams  |  February 8, 2023

The verdict is in: Democrats are in the driver’s seat in the House in Harrisburg.

Securing a majority they nearly won in 2022, Democrats won three special elections for House seats they carried in November.

The reasons those seats were vacant? One candidate simultaneously won election to statewide office, one won election to Congress, and one died shortly before Election Day—too late to be replaced on the ballot.

While these special elections are technically standalone events, they are functionally the conclusion of last year’s midterm elections that went better than expected for Democrats. NCSL's State Elections 2022 webpage includes more detailed analysis of what transpired last November.

Democrats now control a majority of seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives for the first time since 2010. The Representatives-elect will take their seats shortly after the results are certified in the coming days.

With Republicans in control of the Pennsylvania Senate, the Keystone State is, along with Virginia, one of only two legislatures with the two chambers controlled by different parties. And with Democrats holding the governor’s mansion, the Republican majority in the Senate is the only thing standing between Democrats and unified control of the commonwealth.

While Democrats have the majority that’s eluded them for a decade, it’s the slimmest majority possible in the 203-seat chamber: 102-101. That single-seat majority means that control of the Pennsylvania House could seesaw between the parties as resignations or deaths create new vacancies.

Ben Williams is a program principal in NCSL's Elections and Redistricting Program.

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