State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

GOP's majorities likely to remain in state House, Senate

Written by Mary Wilson, Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 5, 2012 8:09 PM
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The GOP’s majority in both chambers of the state General Assembly might be a bit smaller after Election Day, but not by much.

The state House, in particular, has seen tectonic shifts in power in the past decade. In 2006, Democratic candidates rode a wave of anti-Iraq War sentiment and captured the House. In 2010, when the Tea Party was ascendant, the GOP got back in the majority.

Terry Madonna, political scientist and pollster at Franklin and Marshall College, said there’s no such zeitgeist motivating voters now.

“There won’t be the huge coattails that would help the Democrats win back control of the Legislature,” said Madonna. “It looks like, in the House anyway, they may pick up a couple of seats, but I think it’s largely going to be the same composition in the House.”

Nearly half of the House’s 203 members aren’t even facing a challenger. 96 incumbents are running unopposed. “So you’re not talking about a lot of room for change,” said Madonna.

Nine of the incumbent candidates in 25 state Senate races are running unopposed. Madonna isn’t predicting a blowout there, either. The GOP currently holds 29 seats – it held 30 before one of its senators, John Pippy, retired this past summer.

“Everything would have to go right, I mean, literally, right, for the Democrats to win control of the Senate,” said Madonna. “They may pick up a seat or two, but I still think at the end of the day, the Senate will remain in Republican hands.”

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