HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Leadership votes in the Pennsylvania state House are on hold with two races in the suburban Philadelphia area still too close to call, leaving the balance of power in Harrisburg up in the air.
Just 114 votes in Bucks County’s 142nd District separate Republican Joseph Hogan in his race against Democrat Mark Moffa. The race had been as close as just two votes, but new data was loaded Monday afternoon to show Hogan now leading.
In Montgomery County, the 151st District seat is separated by 14 votes with Republican William Todd Stephens leading Democrat Melissa Cerrato.
With those two races uncalled and the pending special election to fill the seat of the late Rep. Tony DeLuca, the Pennsylvania State House sits at 100 Republicans and 100 Democrats.
“There are races all over the commonwealth that for decades and beyond have been very close and decided by only a few votes, it’s not the first time nor will it be the last,” said State Rep. Mary Isaacson (D-Philadelphia).
The first party to reach 102 members will take the majority.
“This wasn’t on my bingo card for things to look for in the Pennsylvania election this year, obviously redistricting played a huge role in this,” says election lawyer Larence Otter.
Pennsylvania Republicans say Democrats may have jumped the gun on their declaration that they took the chamber.
“Last week Democrats claimed the majority which we still believe was an incredibly premature announcement with the numbers of votes being counted in a number of outstanding districts,” said House Republican Spokesman Jason Gottesman.
In the state Senate where Republicans held their majority, Majority Leader Kim Ward is expected to become the first woman Senate President Pro Temp. It would also mean Ward temporarily serves as lieutenant governor for approximately two weeks between John Fetterman’s swearing-in to the United States Senate and the inauguration of Lt. Governor-elect Austin Davis in Harrisburg.
“This could be a colossal mess in trying to reorganize,” said Otter. “I can’t tell you how they worked it out, but it’s not going to be a pleasant day in Harrisburg between now and swearing-in day in January.”