Special elections to be held in four Pennsylvania legislative districts on May 18

Image of a red sign with the words "Polling Place" a pointing arrow.

Special elections are being held on May 18 for two seats in the Pennsylvania State Senate and two seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Voters will decide on representation in District 22 and District 48 of the state Senate as well as District 59 and District 60 of the state House.

  • In Senate District 22, Martin Flynn (D), Chris Chermak (R), Marlene Sebastianelli (G), and Nathan Covington (L) are running in the special election. The seat became vacant after John Blake (D) resigned on March 8 to work for U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright (D). Blake had represented the district since 2011.
  • In Senate District 48, Calvin Clements (D), Chris Gebhard (R), Ed Krebs (Bring People Together), and Timothy McMaster (L) are facing off. The seat became vacant after the death of David Arnold (R) on Jan. 17. Arnold was elected to the District 48 seat in a special election in January 2020.
  • In House District 59, Mariah Fisher (D), Leslie Baum Rossi (R), and Robb Luther (L) are running. The seat became vacant after the death of Mike Reese (R) on Jan. 2. Reese had represented the district since 2009.
  • In House District 60, Frank Prazenica (D), Abby Major (R), and Andrew Hreha (L) are on the ballot. The seat became vacant after Jeffrey Pyle (R) resigned on March 16, citing health issues. Pyle had represented the district since 2005.

Pennsylvania has a divided government, and no political party holds a state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Republicans control the state Senate by a 27-20 margin with one independent member and two vacancies. The state House is controlled by a 111-90 Republican majority with two vacancies.

As of May, 38 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. Pennsylvania held 44 state legislative special elections from 2011 to 2020.

Additional reading: