NATIONAL NEWS

Democrats seek to strengthen majority in Pennsylvania House as voters cast ballots

Feb 12, 2024, 9:29 PM

This Jan. 2024 combination photo shows nominees for a Bucks County special election to fill a vacan...

This Jan. 2024 combination photo shows nominees for a Bucks County special election to fill a vacant Pennsylvania state House seat, Republican Candace Cabanas, left, and Democrat Jim Prokopiak in Fairless Hills, Pa., (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Democrats have an opportunity to strengthen their hold on the Pennsylvania House on Tuesday as voters cast their ballots in a suburban Philadelphia district that has been leaning more Democratic, after a Republican lawmaker’s resignation last week shifted the balance back to them.

Voters will decide between a Democratic school board member and a Republican political newcomer in the Bucks County election that could give Democrats a slightly larger advantage in the House.

Democrats controlled the House by one vote until Rep. John Galloway resigned in December to become a magisterial district judge. A Republican lawmaker’s resignation last week broke the partisan tie, creating a 101-100 Democratic majority until voters in northeastern Pennsylvania select his replacement in another special election on April 23.

The Bucks County seat has long been reliably Democratic and shares a county with longtime Republican areas where the GOP has been losing power over two decades. Democratic presidential candidates have won the county since the 1990s, and President Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by 10 percentage points in 2020 in Galloway’s district, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 3 to 2.

Even though those signs look good for Democrats, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is spending $50,000 to protect the party’s majority in the chamber.

Republicans have a chance to deadlock the chamber 101-101. Elections last year in February, May and September broke in Democrats’ favor in largely Democratic areas.

Democrats have the governor’s office. Republicans hold the Senate. House leaders scheduled no voting days for January and February while the partisan divide of the chamber was split.

Democrat Jim Prokopiak, 49, and Republican Candace Cabanas, 45, are vying for the seat.

Cabanas has said she is running to represent the working-class district, not necessarily to tilt power closer to Republican control.

“It’s an interesting thing to be thrown into this because I’m not a politician, and I’m really just running to support working-class families in lower Bucks County,” Cabanas said.

Prokopiak, who was first elected in 2021 to the school board in a district north of Philadelphia, has said he wants Democrats to be able to continue the work that has looked out for the middle class.

“Over the last year I think, since the Democrats have been in the majority, they’ve pushed legislation that has helped the middle class,” Prokopiak said. “I want to do that.”

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

___

Brooke Schultz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

National News

Work continues on the roof of Gaido's restaurant in preparation for opening for diners for the firs...

Associated Press

In beachy Galveston, locals buckle down without power after Beryl’s blow during peak tourist season

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Vacuums sucked the water out of the seaside inn run by Nick Gaido’s family in Galveston since 1911 as power was still spotty nearly one week after a resurgent Hurricane Beryl swept into Texas. Blue tarp covered much of the torn off roof. Gaido scheduled cleanup shifts for the hotel and […]

7 hours ago

FILE - Balloons are hoisted to the ceiling in the Forum ahead of the 2024 Republican National Conve...

Associated Press

When does a presumptive nominee become a nominee? Here’s how Donald Trump will make it official

WASHINGTON (AP) — Monday 12:01 AM Nearly 2,500 delegates are gathering in Milwaukee this week for a roll call vote to select a the Republican presidential nominee, formally ending the presidential primary. It will be a moment lacking in suspense: Former President Donald Trump has already been the presumptive nominee for months, having clinched a […]

8 hours ago

Members of the Coalition to March on the RNC speak during a news conference ahead of the 2024 Repub...

Associated Press

GOP convention protests are on despite shooting at Trump rally

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Activists gathering in Milwaukee for the start of the Republican National Convention say the assassination attempt on former President Donald Trump won’t affect their long-standing plans to demonstrate outside the convention site this week. A diverse range of organizations and activists is expected outside the downtown Fiserv Forum. The largest expected demonstration […]

8 hours ago

FILE - Actor Clint Eastwood speaks to an empty chair while addressing delegates during the Republic...

Associated Press

Floor fights, boos and a too-long kiss. How the dramatic and the bizarre define convention history

WASHINGTON (AP) — In 1948, the Republican and Democratic parties did something unthinkable in today’s climate of ferocious political animosity: They not only held their national conventions in the same city, but shared some of the props. Both gathered in Philadelphia, largely because its Municipal Auditorium had already been fitted with the wiring needed for […]

8 hours ago

FILE - Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, ...

Associated Press

The RNC’s first day will still focus on the economy. Here’s what to know about Trump’s plans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump goes into the Republican National Convention with bold promises about the U.S. economy, but he has sketched out notably few details about how his plans would actually work. The convention’s first day is still expected to focus on the economy even after Saturday’s shooting at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania […]

8 hours ago

FILE - Wayne LaPierre arrives at court, Jan. 24, 2024, in New York. The second phase of the civil t...

Associated Press

Second phase of NRA civil trial over nonprofit’s spending set to open in NYC

NEW YORK (AP) — The second phase of the civil trial against the National Rifle Association and its top executives is set to begin Monday in Manhattan, with New York Attorney General Letitia James seeking an independent monitor to oversee the powerful gun rights group. The Democrat also is seeking to ban Wayne LaPierre, the […]

8 hours ago

Democrats seek to strengthen majority in Pennsylvania House as voters cast ballots