There are three special elections for vacant seats in the Pennsylvania state House of Representatives that we are tracking today. These races will determine control of the chamber. Currently, Republicans have a two-seat advantage in the 203-member body. All three of the seats up today are in eastern Allegheny County. They are mainly suburban districts, though the 34th District does stretch into the City of Pittsburgh.
The seat in the 32nd District is vacant after Rep. Tony DeLuca, who represented the district for 39 years, passed away at the age of 85 less than a month before the November 8th general election. He still won reelection, which triggered a special election. Running to fill the vacancy are Democrat Joe McAndrew, the former executive director of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, and Republican Clay Walker, an Army veteran. This is the first time Republicans have run a candidate in this district since 2012.
In the 34th District, the seat is vacant after Summer Lee won her election to Congress to represent Pennsylvania’s 12th District and reelection to the 34th State House District. She was unopposed in the state house race. Running to replace her are Democratic Swissvale Borough Councilmember Abigail Salisbury, and Republican Robert Pagane, a former police officer in the district. Pagane is the first Republican to run in the district since 2000.
Finally, in the 35th District, the seat in vacant after Austin Davis was elected Lt. Governor. He also won reelection to his state house seat defeating Republican Donald Nevills by 32%. Nevills is running again as the Republican nominee in today’s special election. He faces Democrat Matthew Gergely this time around.
If Democrats win all three vacancies as expected, they will hold a one-seat majority in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The chamber will not be at full capacity for long, as Republican Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver will have to resign her seat after winning last week’s special election for State Senate District 27. This will give Democrats a temporary two-seat majority that should shrink back to one once a special election is held for the vacancy in the heavily Republican 108th State House District.
Polls close tonight at 8 p.m. EST. We will have the election results below once they do.