Following Tuesday’s special election, a once-Republican district in the Philadelphia suburbs remained in Democratic control, allowing the party to maintain a slim majority in the state House of Representatives.
“Democrats maintained their narrow Pennsylvania House majority Tuesday by winning a special election and along with it continued control over how the chamber will handle abortion, gun rights, and election law legislation,” the Associated Press reported.
“Heather Boyd won a seat in the Philadelphia suburbs, beating Republican Katie Ford for a vacancy created by the resignation of Democratic Rep. Mike Zabel. Zabel quit the Legislature in March, shortly after a lobbyist accused him of sexually harassing her,” the report continued.
Boyd, a former congressional and state legislative aide, now represents a district formerly held by Republicans but which has recently demonstrated significant support for Democratic candidates, according to the AP.
With her victory, Democrats now command 102 seats in the 203-member House, the bare minimum needed to control the agenda. However, the state Senate is still controlled by Republicans.
The impact of the Democrats’ victory in the Delaware County district on Governor Josh Shapiro’s first term as a Democrat is significant.
Shapiro obtains an advantage as the crucial final month of budget negotiations approaches, as at least one chamber now supports his agenda. In addition, the outcome could have an effect on a proposed constitutional amendment that would restrict abortion rights. Currently, legislative Republicans are one vote away from submitting the amendment to electors as a referendum.
The AP also noted:
Boyd, who reported raising more than $1,3 million, including more than $1 million in in-kind advertising from the House Democrats’ campaign apparatus and the Democratic Party, had an advertisement produced by Shapiro that focused on the abortion issue. Ford reported raising approximately $146,000, with more than half coming from the campaign arm of House Republicans.
Boyd emphasized the preservation of abortion rights in contrast to Ford, who is personally opposed to abortion but says she does not want to change the state’s current law. Republicans had hoped to regain the majority in order to pass a constitutional amendment stating that the Pennsylvania Constitution does not guarantee any rights pertaining to abortion or public funding of abortions.
Ford criticized Boyd, a prominent Democratic Party official in Delaware County, for allegedly not taking a firmer stance in response to the allegations against Zabel. Boyd responded that she was honoring the lobbyist’s request for confidentiality regarding her claim that Zabel massaged her leg while they discussed a bill outside the Capitol in Harrisburg in 2018 and continued to do so after she moved away, according to the AP.
“Common sense says that if someone comes to you and says that they’re being sexually harassed, you do something about it,” Ford said during a televised debate. “You don’t just let it go.”
More on this story via Conservative Brief:
The AP noted further: “Boyd responded that she did not endorse or support Zabel after hearing of the lobbyist’s account, and says she tried unsuccessfully to find someone to run against Zabel.” CONTINUE READING…