PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Should elected officials have to give up their state government seats before they can run for a higher office? It may seem like a straightforward question, however, it is a question that Pennsylvanians have been asking for decades.

On Election Day this year, voters elected 102 Democrats and 101 Republicans. But the October 2022 death of Tony DeLuca and the resignations of Summer Lee and Austin Davis, after they won elections for higher offices, means the 102 Democrats are down to 99.

The Democrats may have a majority on paper, but not in people.

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Both the Democratic and Republican leaders swore themselves in and proclaimed majority status.

“This craziness that we have right now with who is the speaker and who is in the majority would’ve been avoided if we had a resign-to-run law,” said Eric Epstein of Rock the Capitol.

The idea behind resign-to-run laws is simple — elected officials can not hold one office and run for another at the same time. If Pennsylvania had a resign-to-run law during this year’s election, Lee and Davis would have been forced to decide between running for a higher office or keeping their house seats.

“I think we should take a serious look at this. Perhaps you shouldn’t run for two offices at the same time because that’s what created this situation in the first place,” said Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster County).

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However, both political parties frequently have elected officials run for higher positions.

Five of the six candidates in the two recent Pennsylvania races were sitting elected officials seeking a higher position.

“You cannot simultaneously work a fulltime job and campaign fulltime. Somebody’s losing out, and the person losing out is the taxpayer,” added Epstein.

The concept of resign-to-run laws is not new. In fact, abc27 covered a story about resign-to-run laws in 2012. The bill’s author? The late Tony DeLuca.

“They should not use it as a mere stepping stone to higher office,” said DeLuca. “It is unfair that sitting elected officials may use an institutional advantage to run for higher office without any risks to themselves.”

Other things to consider? The cost of special elections and the unrepresented constituents until the special elections are held.

Pennsylvania’s largest city has resign-to-run laws.

“Philadelphia has it. Half their city council just resigned, I’m not sure in terms of continuity of government that was a great thing,” said Rep. Matt Bradford (D), appropriations chair.

Multiple Philadelphia council members quit to run for mayor, an example that Bradford says the rest of the state should not want to follow.

“You’re losing all institutional knowledge at a time where the city really needs its best and brightest,” said Bradford.

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Epstein has hopes that the tug-of-war over leadership shines a light on the problem.

“I think both parties, especially in the House of Representatives, see the merits of resign-to-run given the mess we’re in,” said Epstein.

Voters in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania repealed their resign-to-run laws in November 2022.