Welcome to the Wednesday, December 14, Brew.
By: David Luchs
Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:
- 11 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2023
- Leadership of Pennsylvania House of Representatives remains unclear
- Voting continues for the Official Holiday Cookie!
Eleven state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2023
Yesterday, we looked at the 54 state legislative special elections in 2022. Now, let’s take a look at the special elections already scheduled for 2023.
Eleven state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2023 in seven states. Democrats last represented six of the seats up for election, and Republicans last represented five. Three are senate seats, and eight are in state houses.
The only special elections with the potential to change partisan control of the chamber are taking place in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. See our second story for more on those races. Outside of the Pennsylvania House, the closest margin in a chamber holding special elections is the Democrats’ 22-19 majority in the Virginia State Senate, where a seat last held by a Republican will be up for election.
Four special elections are taking place because the incumbent was elected to a different office. Three are taking place because the incumbent died. Another three are taking place because the incumbent resigned to take another job, and one is taking place because the incumbent retired from politics.
Among the newly-elected officeholders who resigned are U.S. Reps.-elect Summer Lee (D-Penn.) and Jennifer Kiggans (R-Va.), and Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor-elect Austin Davis (D).
Five special elections will take place in January, three in February, two in March, and one in April.
The 11 special elections already scheduled for 2023 are:
- Georgia House District 7 (Jan. 3)
- Mississippi House District 23 (Jan. 10)
- Virginia Senate District 7 (Jan. 10)
- Virginia House District 35 (Jan. 10)
- Pennsylvania Senate District 27 (Jan. 31)
- Pennsylvania House District 32 (Feb. 7 — tentative)
- Pennsylvania House District 34 (Feb. 7 — tentative)
- Pennsylvania House District 35 (Feb. 7 — tentative)
- Tennessee House District 86 (March 14)
- Louisiana House District 93 (March 25)
- Wisconsin Senate District 8 (Apr. 4)
There were an average of 74 state legislative districts holding special elections in each year between 2011 and 2021. The two post-midterm years during that time period both had an above-average number of special elections, with 89 held in 2015 and 77 held in 2019.
Leadership of Pennsylvania House of Representatives remains unclear
More than one month after Election Day, control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives remains unclear, and two legislators are laying claim to the position of majority leader.
Democrats won 102 districts to Republicans’ 101 in the November elections. Democrat Anthony DeLuca died in October but won re-election as his name still appeared on the ballot, leaving the chamber divided with 101 members from each party.
Then, on Dec. 7, Summer Lee (D) and Austin Davis (D) submitted their resignations to take other offices effective immediately, leaving Democrats with 99 members to Republicans’ 101.
Special elections to fill the vacancies left by Democrats Davis, DeLuca, and Lee will determine control of the chamber. When the special elections will take place is not yet settled and depends on the outcome of disputes about who is the chamber’s majority leader. Under Pennsylvania law, the majority leader schedules state legislative special elections.
As of this writing, both Democrat Joanna McClinton and Republican Bryan Cutler describe themselves as majority leader. McClinton says she was sworn in on Dec. 7 on the grounds that Democrats won more districts on Election Day. Cutler says McClinton’s swearing-in was not legitimate because Democrats do not have a majority. Cutler says he was sworn in as majority leader on Dec. 12.
McClinton scheduled the three special elections for Feb. 7, but House Republicans filed a lawsuit Dec. 9 challenging the timing and alleging Cutler should have the power to schedule the elections instead.
All three districts voted for Joe Biden (D) by margins of 15 percentage points or more in the 2020 presidential election.
The chamber’s 2023 legislative session begins on Jan. 3 with the election of a new House speaker. Assuming no other changes between now and then, Republicans will have 101 votes to Democrats’ 99 at that date.
Voting continues for the Official Holiday Cookie!
We’re three days into the primary election for 2022’s Official Holiday Cookie. Have you cast your ballots yet?
This delicious race will lead to the general election, which will feature the top 3 candidates from the primary election. The ultimate winner will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 22.
While we won’t have the play-by-play for the campaigning in this election, we do have it for our report highlighting recalls of elected officials!
Be sure to keep an eye out for our 2022 year-end report, but in the meantime, vote now for your favorite holiday cookie!