Control of Pennsylvania’s state House up for grabs—again

Welcome to the Tuesday, April 25, Brew. 

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Pennsylvania to hold special elections to determine control of state House
  2. Election Day roundup: Voters in Tampa, Newark, Olympia, and King County go to the polls April 25
  3. 40 candidates filed for federal and statewide offices last week

Pennsylvania to hold special elections to—once again—determine control of state House

Two special elections on May 16 will determine partisan control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives following the resignations of Lynda Schlegel Culver (R) and Michael Zabel (D). Culver has run unopposed in every election since 2018, including most recently in her 2022 re-election bid, while Zabel won re-election in 2022 with 64.3% of votes.  

Regular readers of The Brew will know that we’ve written a lot about Pennsylvania House over the last six months (see here, here, and here, for example). That’s because control of the narrowly divided chamber has shifted between Republicans and Democrats since the November 2022 elections thanks to a series of vacancies and special elections

Let’s take a look at who is running in the upcoming special elections and run through the backstory.

  • On Nov. 8, 2022, Democrats gained control of the chamber for the first time since 2010 with a 102-101 majority. Republicans entered the election with a 113-88 majority (with one vacancy).
  • However, within a month, Republicans had regained a majority due to the death of one Democratic member and the resignations of two others. Republicans entered the legislative session with a 101-99 majority.
  • On Feb. 7, 2023, Democratic candidates won special elections in all three vacant districts, giving Democrats a 102-101 majority.
  • A Democrat and a Republican resigned on Feb. 28 and March 16, respectively, triggering the May 16 special elections and giving Democrats a 101-100 majority.  

The following chart runs through the recent vacancies and elections in chronological order, with the events listed on the right and partisan control of the chamber on the left. 

With the backstory out of the way, let’s learn a bit about the upcoming special elections. 

District 108

District 108 includes all of Montour County and part of Northumberland County. In the 2022 U.S. Senate election, Mehmet Oz (R) won Montour and Northumberland counties 55% to 41% and 64% to 33%, respectively. According to CNalysis, Donald Trump (R) would have won District 108 in the 2020 presidential election 65% to 33%.

State Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R) resigned on Feb. 28, after she won a January special election to state Senate District 27. Trevor Finn (D), Michael Stender (R), and Elijah Scretching (L) are running to succeed Schlegel Culver. 

District 163

District 163 included part of Delaware County. In the 2022 U.S. Senate election, John Fetterman (D) won Delaware County 63% to 35%. According to CNalysis, Joe Biden (D) would have won District 163 62% to 37%.

Michael Zabel (D) resigned on March 16 following accusations of sexual harassment. Heather Boyd (D), Katie Ford (R), and Alfe Goodwin (L) are running. 

Click below to learn more about the May 16 special elections and what the candidates stand for.
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Election Day roundup: Voters in Tampa, Newark, Olympia, and King County go to the polls April 25

Tuesday very often means election day, and today is no different. Let’s take a brief look at some of the elections we’re covering today. 


Voters in Tampa, Fla., will decide city council runoff elections. General elections were held on March 7 for all seven districts that make up the Tampa City Council. In total, 23 candidates were on the ballot. The election for District 7 was canceled because only one candidate ran. 

Candidates in Districts 4 and 5 won outright, having received more than 50% of the vote. In the elections for Districts 1, 2, 3, and 6, the two candidates with the most votes advanced to the runoffs. Mayor Jane Castor was also up for re-election, though she was the only candidate on the ballot. Municipal elections in Tampa are officially nonpartisan, though media outlets have reported Castor is affiliated with the Democratic Party. 

  • District 1 At-Large: Sonja Brookings is running against Alan Clendenin. Brookings completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Click here to read her answers.  
  • District 2 At-Large:Incumbent Guido Maniscalco is running against Robin Lockett.
  • District 3 At-Large: Incumbent Lynn Hurtak is running against Janet Cruz. Hurtek completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. Click here to read her answers. 
  • District 6: Incumbent Charlie Miranda is running against Hoyt Prindle. 

Florida Politics’ Peter Schorsch described the race for District 3 as likely the highest-profile one in the March 7 elections, saying, “The race has been marked by what could be best described as a referendum on Mayor Castor. Hurtak has been part of a three-member coalition to vote against Castor’s administration or in favor of measures to erode her executive authority. Cruz, meanwhile, has something of a familial relationship with the Mayor. Her daughter, Ana Cruz, is Castor’s longtime partner. Castor has, not surprisingly, endorsed Cruz and the two share at least some campaign staff.”

New Jersey

Three seats on the Newark Public Schools school board in New Jersey are up for general election. Eight candidates are running, including two incumbents—Hasani Council and Josephine Garcia.  

Council and Garcia, as well as Allison James-Frison, are running as part of the “Move Newark Schools Forward Slate.” Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who is affiliated with the Democratic Party, has endorsed the slate. 

Thomas Luna, Tawana Johnson-Emory, and James Wright Jr. are running as part of the “Newark Kids Forward” slate. Johnson-Emory and Wright Jr. are both teachers at charter schools.

Latoya Jackson, Allison James-Frison, and Ade’Kamil Kelly are also running, though not as part of a slate. 

Newark Public Schools is the largest district in New Jersey, with an estimated enrollment of 42,000 students. The board consists of nine members elected to three-year terms, and all members are elected at-large.

Subscribe to Hall Pass, our weekly education-related newsletter to stay up to date on school board elections and politics. 


Voters in King County, Wash., will decide one ballot measure on April 25. King County Proposition No. 1 would implement a nine-year property tax levy of $14.50 per $100,000 in assessed property value to fund behavioral health services around the county, including walk-in urgent care facilities.

In King County, voters have decided 17 measures since 2017, and all but one has been approved. Of those 17 measures, five were tax-related. Voters approved all five. 

Click below to stay up to date on all our election coverage throughout the year. 

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40 candidates filed for federal and statewide offices last week

Last week, 40 candidates filed to run for congressional and state offices—including for elections in 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026. Two weeks ago, we tracked 33 candidates who declared for congressional and state offices.

This year, we’ve tracked 542 declared candidates for federal and statewide offices. At this time in 2021, 831 candidates had filed for elections in 2021, 2022, and 2023. 

Here’s a breakdown of the candidates who declared last week:

  • Of the partisan nature of the declared candidates….
    • 17 are Democrats
    • 19 are Republicans. 
    • Four are minor-party candidates.
  • Of the offices tracked…
    • 34 filed for Congress
    • Four filed for state legislatures
    • One filed for governor
    • One filed for a lower state executive office.

We cover elections for tens of thousands of offices across the country, and part of that work includes keeping tabs on the candidates who file to run for those offices. We’ll periodically bring you updates on how many candidates are signing up to run for state and federal offices. We process both official and declared candidates.

Click below to read about our definition of candidacy. 

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