Unforeseen: Are both Parties in Majority in PA House?
The midterms are long over, and all results for the State House races are in; yet both Republicans and Democrats claim they are the majority party in the upcoming State House. What’s happening in Pennsylvania?
Last Wednesday (December 7), Democrat Joanna E. McClinton arranged for “an unannounced ceremony” in the PA House chamber where she was sworn in as the majority leader of the House by Delaware County Judge Rick Lowe. The Gateway Pundit called this claim to power in the PA House an “insurrection” by the Democrats.
Rep. Joanna McClinton held a fraudulent ceremony Wednesday where Delaware County Judge Rick Lowe swore her in as Pennsylvania House Majority Leader.
Explaining its criticism of McClinton’s claim and oath ceremony, the story added that McClinton has a hollow claim to a Democrat majority in the House because Democrats have only 99 incoming members to seat in the House after winning 102 seats in the midterm election. One of the seats they claim they won is for a Democrat, Anthony “Tony” DeLuca, who died on October 9, a month before the election and yet was “re-elected” on November 8. Two more Democrats resigned from House membership on Wednesday: Austin Davis, the Lieutenant Governor-elect, and Rep. Summer Lee, who was elected to Congress.
The Republicans claim that with these three Democrats gone, Republicans are entitled to claim a majority as they have 101 elected members to seat in the House on January 3, 2023. Republicans accused McClinton and the Democrats of staging a coup by treating themselves to oath-taking in the House as the majority. House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler called it an “illegitimate power grab.” Going beyond words, Cutler had his own ceremony in the House where he was sworn in as the majority leader on Monday (December 12) by Dauphin County Judge John McNally.
With two majority leaders sworn in already to lead the PA House in 2023, it is left to the courts to decide who gets to keep the House majority. Special elections will be held to decide the three seats vacated by the one dead and two departed Democrats. But until that happens, Republicans insist the math is on their side and they deserve to keep the gavel in the House. They filed a lawsuit over the weekend to overturn McClinton’s scheduling of special elections on February 7 for filling the three vacant House seats. Reporting on the story, Sun-Gazette wrote:
Given the current makeup of the House, McClinton is not the speaker, nor the majority leader, and thus cannot set the date of an election.
Some media sources predict the Democrats are likely to win all three vacant seats in the special elections. Until then, the control of the House hangs in the balance of law.