Dem, GOP reps both declare leadership of Pennsylvania House

Dan Abrams Live

(NewsNation) — With both parties declaring the majority, a fight for control of the Pennsylvania State House is underway. A Democrat and a Republican state representative are declaring themselves the majority leader and claiming they are representing the party in charge.

Democrats technically won more Statehouse seats in Pennsylvania by just one seat, in theory, making it 102 to 101. But one of the state representatives who won died in October, a month before the election. There was reportedly not enough time to take his name off the ballot, so he still won. Then, two other Democratic state representatives who won reelection later resigned because they were elected to a higher office.

Some Republican lawmakers in the state believe those vacancies flipped the balance of power, giving them the majority, 101 to 99. But Democrats say not so fast, voters want Democratic lawmakers filling those seats.

Why does it matter? The stakes are high in the state on many issues from abortion to voting laws. Whichever party controls the House majority will have the upper hand in deciding if certain proposed amendments make it to a statewide vote.

Neither side is backing down. Each party held swearing in ceremonies.

Democrats swore in Rep. Joanna McClinton as majority leader and acting speaker. House Republicans swore in Representative Bryan Cutler.

McClinton said in her capacity as majority leader and acting speaker, she plans to issue a writ of election when the new session begins to hold special elections to fill the vacant seats.

Cutler, the leader of the House Republicans, is suing the Pennsylvania Secretary of State, arguing that McClinton is not the House majority leader and that she cannot set a date for special elections.

The three seats that are now vacant appear to be in very Democratic-leaning districts of Pennsylvania. All of the lawmakers are set to return to Harrisburg on Jan. 3.

With dueling claims of authority, what happens now? In the video above, Stephen Caruso, capitol reporter for Spotlight PA, speaks to Dan Abrams about what we can expect.

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