Pennsylvania Democrats said they will control of the state House of Representatives for the first time in a dozen years, as the party claimed a closely fought swing seat in the crucial Collar Counties.
A final tally of votes in a Montgomery County district showed Democrat Melissa Cerrato taking a lead over state Rep. Todd Stephens (R) by 37 ballots out of about 33,000 votes cast. The county will examine 59 provisional ballots at a hearing on Friday.
Another seat in neighboring Bucks County remains to be decided. In that district, Republican Joseph Hogan leads Democrat Mark Moffa by about 114 votes.
Even before that race is decided, Cerrato’s apparent win would give Democrats at least 102 seats in the 203-seat House of Representatives in Harrisburg.
“We can confidently say that we will win the majority of the state House,” Rep. Leanne Krueger (D-Delaware), who chaired the House Democratic Campaign Committee, said at the press conference outside of Independence Hall just after Election Day.
Before the election, the Republicans held a 113 to 90 majority.
Democrats rode to a majority on the strength of the top of their ticket. Gov.-elect Josh Shapiro (D) won office over a far-right election denier, state Sen. Doug Mastriano (R), with 56% of the vote.
Jessica Post, the president of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee in Washington, said her party had reclaimed control after a campaign that revolved around abortion rights and Mastriano’s refusal to accept the results of the 2020 elections.
“The Pennsylvania GOP thought they would have the margins to hold their majority thanks to last decade’s rigged maps but they could not outrun their extreme platform of abortion bans and election lies,” Post said.
State Rep. Joanna McClinton (D), the state House Minority Leader, will become the first woman to lead the state House.
McClinton said it was apropos that a woman would be the House leader since “women’s rights were completely on the ballot.”