Democrat Lindsay Powell, a nonprofit worker and former Pittsburgh city employee, won a special election Tuesday and gave her party control of the state House of Representatives, according to the Associated Press.
Powell triumphed in a Democratic-leaning district in Allegheny County vacated by former state Rep. Sara Innamorato. Innamorato left office to run for Allegheny County Executive and will be the Democratic candidate for this position in the November general election.
Powell’s victory was expected because of the blue hue of the open district, but it remains significant because it tips the balance of power in the state’s lower house toward Democrats, who will hold 102 seats after his seat, up from 101 seats for Republicans. .
Democrats won a majority in the House of Representatives in 2022 for the first time since 2010, relying on state court-drawn maps. But they soon lost complete control of the room. due to vacancies in three seats. In February, after three special elections in Allegheny County, Democrats regained the majority.
Victory in Tuesday’s special election places the party control of a room of the Statehouse and the governor in a key 2024 battleground state, where Democrats flipped a U.S. Senate seat last year.
And, with two major elections coming up – not only next year’s presidential race, but also Democratic Sen. Bob Casey’s re-election bid: The Keystone State is sure to play an important role in the political fights to come.
Powell will join the State House while Democrats are at odds with Republicans in the state Senate over some provisions of the $45 million state budget, including whether to publicly fund some students’ access to private schools.
Powell’s opponent, Republican Erin Connolly Autenreith, the local party chairwoman, campaigned in favor of vouchers that would help send some public school students to private schools.
The State House is expected to reconvene in late September and will likely consider the budget package.
The implications of a Democratic-led state House and a Democratic governor are already in the state. This year, the House of Representatives passed bills to raise the minimum wage, enshrine the right to collective bargaining in the state Constitution and allocate funds for mental health assistance.
And just Tuesday, Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro announced that the state would now automatically register people to vote when they obtain a driver’s license or state ID.