All eyes were following the returns in Tuesday’s special election between Democrat Heather Boyd and Republican Katie Ford in Delaware County’s 163rd District to determine control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Monday’s endorsement of Boyd by President Joe Biden underscored the magnitude of the power struggle.
Boyd’s win ensures that the Democratic agenda will continue to move forward, and that Republicans can’t continue to push a constitutional abortion ban.
“At a time when democracy must be protected, Pennsylvania voters have made their voices heard and elected a committed public servant who will serve as a strong advocate for all Pennsylvanians in the General Assembly,” said Eric Holder, Chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) and former U.S. Attorney General.
“Heather Boyd’s victory tonight was vital for Pennsylvania’s climate future. With her win, the state’s House of Representatives holds onto its razor-thin, pro-clean energy majority,” said Climate Cabinet Action Executive Director Caroline Spears.
Spears added that Representative-elect Boyd will be a voice of reason in legislative battles to create clean energy jobs and in fighting against pollution.
A former teacher, Boyd brings a wealth of experience to the table. Most recently she worked as District Director and Senior Advisor for Democratic Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon. Boyd also served as chief of staff for State Representative Leanne Kruger (D-161) and was responsible for establishing the Delaware County chapter of the National Organization of Women (NOW).
Democrats had won control of the House in November, but over the last six months onlookers have watched a game of musical chairs play out until only one seat remained.
A special election was held in February due to the death of Democratic incumbent Anthony DeLuca, and two additional seats were vacated following the election when Austin Davis won his race for Lieutenant Governor, and Summer Lee won her congressional race. Democrats won all three seats in February.
Power in the House was put into play again in March when a fourth seat opened following the resignation of Democractic Representative Mike Zabel of the 163rd District due to allegations of sexual harassment.
Boyd’s election spares voters across the state an assortment of referendum questions Republicans had hoped to place on the November ballot to ban abortion and restrict voting accessibility had Ford won. The referendums would have circumvented Governor Shapiro’s veto power and allowed changes to the state’s constitution.
Legislators from the surrounding counties stumped for Boyd as did many volunteers.
“We were able to knock on 9,000 doors,” said New Pennsylvania Project CEO Kadida Kenner. “For the better part of two weeks, NPP staff have been talking with constituents to help get out the vote in Aldan, Collingdale, Clifton Heights, Darby and Upper Darby townships.”
Kenner was hopeful that voters would want to protect voting rights and expand the right to vote.
“I put a lot of faith in actual face to face conversations we’re having with people when they look us in our eyes and they tell us what they’re going to do or what they’re not going to do,” Kenner added.