State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Senate Republicans, Democrats re-elect leaders with little fanfare

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 15, 2018 2:28 AM

The new legislative session begins in January. (Photo by AP)


(Harrisburg)-- State Senators held their leadership elections this week, and both Republicans and Democrats chose to retain the same members for top positions.

But despite the lack of top-down change, things will be a little different when lawmakers return to session in January.

Democrats picked up at least five Senate seats in the midterm election--a gain that helped them break a GOP supermajority, even if it wasn't enough to give them control of the chamber. One additional seat is still under contention.

Republicans lost a handful of key moderates, mostly from the southeastern part of the state. It's a shift that some senators have speculated could lead to more gridlock.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati--who was among the leaders re-chosen for his position--included a call for compromise.

"It is clear that our state and commonwealth face many challenges, but it is by reaching out to each other, it is by listening, it is by compromising that we come together and we make Pennsylvania a better place," he said.

The other top member of the GOP majority is Caucus Leader Jake Corman, of Centre County.

Democratic senators, meanwhile, have said their modest gains this election are just the start of a quest to take back the chamber after years in the minority.

Like the Republicans, they re-elected their old slate of top members to lead that effort.

In a statement, returning Minority Leader Jay Costa, of Allegheny County, called the caucus dynamic and passionate, and said he knows the leadership team "will serve them well."

He'll remain flanked by Minority Whip Anthony Williams and Appropriations Chair Vincent Hughes--both of Philadelphia.

The rest of the Democratic team includes more Allegheny and Philly-area lawmakers, as well as Senators from Allentown and Scranton.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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