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Pa. House and Senate remain in Republican control despite Democratic gains

Republicans maintained control over the Pennsylvania House and Senate in Harrisburg, though Democrats picked up seats to narrow those majorities.

The Pennsylvania state Capitol
The Pennsylvania state CapitolRead moreMARC LEVY / Associated Press

The "blue wave" that saw Pennsylvania Democrats picking up seats in the U.S. House on Tuesday and winning statewide elections for governor and the U.S. Senate made a noticeably smaller splash in the General Assembly.

With the outcome of some races still unclear after 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Republicans looked poised to keep control of the state House and Senate, though Democrats did pick up seats in both chambers.

Nathan Davidson, executive director of the House Democratic Campaign Committee, said his party won six open seats, defeated seven Republican incumbents, and lost three seats, for a net gain of 10 seats.

In Philadelphia, Democrat Joe Hohenstein won the House's 177th District seat, vacated by 17-term Rep. John Taylor, a former chairman of the Republican City Committee. Hohenstein defeated Republican Patty-Pat Koslowski, taking about 60 percent of the vote.

In Chester County, Democrat Melissa Shusterman defeated four-term Rep. Warren Kampf in the 157th District with about 57 percent of the vote.

State Sen. Vincent Hughes, chairman of the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, said his party had concessions from three Republicans and his party was declaring victory in two other races. One was a projected win by Katie Muth over incumbent John Rafferty in Montgomery County.

Another race, a Bucks County contest between Republican incumbent Robert "Tommy" Tomlinson and Democrat Tina Davis, was too close to call.

Democrat Steve Santarsiero won the open 10th District Seat in Bucks County, and Democrat Maria Collett won the open 12th District seat, which covers Montgomery and Bucks Counties, defeating the son and namesake of longtime incumbent Stewart Greenleaf. State Sen. Tom McGarrigle, a Republican, lost to Democrat Tim Kearney in the 26th District, which covers Delaware and Chester Counties.

All 203 seats in the state House, with two-year terms, and half of the 50 seats in the state Senate, with four-year terms, were on Tuesday's ballot. Republicans went into the election holding a 121-seat majority in the House and a 33-seat super-majority in the Senate.

While the Pennsylvania Supreme Court redrew the lines for congressional districts this year to remedy gerrymandering, the state House and Senate lines will remain in place until after the redistricting process following the 2020 U.S. Census.

The Republicans have controlled the state House since 2010, a midterm election that sparked GOP victories across Pennsylvania and the nation. And they have controlled the state Senate for nearly a quarter-century, taking control in 1994, displacing a brief, 17-month Democratic majority.

It wasn't a rough night for everyone in the Assembly — a full third of the 227 candidates for the Senate and the House faced no opponent on Tuesday's ballot. That included five Democrats in the Senate along with 55 Democrats and 18 Republicans in the House.