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Pennsylvania House GOP, Democrats in dispute over who has control


Republican and Democratic leaders in the Pennsylvania House are in a dispute over which party has control of the chamber.The first big argument is about who has the ability to call a special election.On the last day of the previous general assembly, then-Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-100) set the date – Feb. 7 – for a special election to replace Rep. Tony DeLuca. The Democrat died the month before his reelection.But on Wednesday, Pennsylvania’s Department of State said Cutler’s writ of election was issued a day too early.”Majority party is determined based upon the number of elections won,” House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton (D-191) said.McClinton made that claim last week and said the 102 wins in the November general election give Democrats a one-seat majority, regardless of DeLuca’s death.McClinton was sworn in Wednesday – she said as House majority leader – and issued orders for special elections to fill DeLuca’s seat and the seats of two other members resigning after being elected to other offices.Republican leadership has accused McClinton of an illegitimate power grab.Cutler, now the House Republican leader, accused McClinton of a “paperwork insurrection” and said by acknowledging the resignations of Reps. Summer Lee and Austin Davis, that Democrats would now be in the minority.”Maybe it gets resolved in the courts before we get into late January, early February, where it’s all likely to get resolved,” political analyst Dr. Terry Madonna said.Cutler said the Legislative Reference Bureau also advised him that Democrats were not in the majority.Only adding to the complication, Democrats may not have a majority to elect their own speaker of the house on Jan. 3.

Republican and Democratic leaders in the Pennsylvania House are in a dispute over which party has control of the chamber.

The first big argument is about who has the ability to call a special election.

On the last day of the previous general assembly, then-Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler (R-100) set the date – Feb. 7 – for a special election to replace Rep. Tony DeLuca. The Democrat died the month before his reelection.

But on Wednesday, Pennsylvania’s Department of State said Cutler’s writ of election was issued a day too early.

“Majority party is determined based upon the number of elections won,” House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton (D-191) said.

McClinton made that claim last week and said the 102 wins in the November general election give Democrats a one-seat majority, regardless of DeLuca’s death.

McClinton was sworn in Wednesday – she said as House majority leader – and issued orders for special elections to fill DeLuca’s seat and the seats of two other members resigning after being elected to other offices.

Republican leadership has accused McClinton of an illegitimate power grab.

Cutler, now the House Republican leader, accused McClinton of a “paperwork insurrection” and said by acknowledging the resignations of Reps. Summer Lee and Austin Davis, that Democrats would now be in the minority.

“Maybe it gets resolved in the courts before we get into late January, early February, where it’s all likely to get resolved,” political analyst Dr. Terry Madonna said.

Cutler said the Legislative Reference Bureau also advised him that Democrats were not in the majority.

Only adding to the complication, Democrats may not have a majority to elect their own speaker of the house on Jan. 3.