Democrat Heather Boyd will win the special election for Pennsylvania’s 163rd state House district Tuesday, The Associated Press has projected, allowing Democrats to maintain a narrow grip on the legislative body.
Boyd, a former state legislative and congressional aide, defeated Republican Katie Ford in the contest. The district, which includes parts of Delaware County outside of Philadelphia, became vacant earlier this year after Democratic Rep. Michael Zabel (D) resigned due to allegations of sexual harassment.
Boyd’s victory is also a win for the state’s Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro, who would have been forced to contend with Republican majorities in both of the state’s legislative chambers had Ford won.
Abortion access played a central role in the campaign leading up to Tuesday’s special election, with Boyd tying Ford to GOP efforts to abortion restrictions in Pennsylvania. Boyd released an attack ad earlier this month that featured a warning from Shapiro about a GOP majority in the state House blocking him from vetoing anti-abortion legislation.
However, during a televised debate hosted by Harrisburg TV station WHTM-TV, which is owned by The Hill’s parent company Nexstar, Ford said she’s personally opposed to abortion but would not work to change the state’s law on the matter.
Abortion was also a key issue in last year’s Pennsylvania elections, with suburban voters largely voting for Democratic candidates who campaigned on preserving abortion access. Democrats retook control of the state House for the first time since 2010 and also saw victories at the gubernatorial, Senate, and congressional level.