Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gop Makes Gains in Harrisburg Republicans Build Biggest Majorities Seen in House, Senate since 1950s

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gop Makes Gains in Harrisburg Republicans Build Biggest Majorities Seen in House, Senate since 1950s

Article excerpt

Republicans made gains in the state House and Senate on Tuesday, building on already-significant majorities that have stymied parts of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's agenda in Harrisburg.

In addition to delivering the state's electoral votes to the Republican presidential candidate for the first time since 1988, Pennsylvania voters are sending GOP candidates to their state Capitol in numbers not seen in decades.

The state House will begin the upcoming session with the largest Republican majority since 1957-58, according to a statement from House Republican leaders, with 122 Republicans in the 203-seat chamber.

In the state Senate, Republicans will command a 34-seat majority, leaving just 16 seats held by Democrats in the chamber. It marks the largest Republican majority in that chamber since 1949-50.

Republicans already controlled the state House, 119-84, and the Senate, 31-19.

In the House, Republicans picked up two open seats that had been held by Democrats and defeated two Democratic incumbents. One Republican incumbent House member lost. Democrats had hoped to make gains in the House and pick up open seats in the more liberal southeastern suburbs of Philadelphia.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, said that with 34 members, the Senate will be in a position to push ahead on its agenda, such as efforts to change the pension systems for state and public school workers.

If Mr. Wolf were to promote a "tax and spend" agenda, he said, Senate Republicans would be ready to offer "stiff opposition." But after the budget impasse between the governor and legislative Republicans in the first year of the Wolf administration, Mr. Corman said he believes Mr. Wolf has moved in the Republicans' direction, signing a liquor reform bill and offering to sign pension reform.

Senate Republicans picked up three seats, knocking out two Democratic incumbents and gaining an open seat previously held by a Democrat. As expected, the GOP candidate, Wayne Langerholc, won the 35th District seat held by Democratic Sen. John Wozniak of Johnstown. They also won races in the 15th District, which includes Harrisburg, with incumbent Democrat Rob Teplitz losing to developer John DiSanto; and in the 49th District, which includes Erie, with incumbent Democrat Sean Wiley losing to Dan Laughlin. …

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