Majority climbs to 119 members for 2015-16 session
Going into the election with 111 Republican members of the state House of Representatives, the next session will have 119 Republican members as a result of Tuesday’s election returns. It will be the largest majority the House has seen since the 1957-58 session, according to Speaker of the House Sam Smith (R-Armstrong/Indiana/Jefferson) and Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny County) said today.
Smith, Turzai and House Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Reed (R-Indiana) declared victory after determining that the House Republican Caucus will grow to 119 members for the 2015-16 legislative session that begins Dec. 1. The current makeup of the House is 111 Republicans and 92 Democrats. It will be the third consecutive session with Republicans in control of the House. The new makeup of the House will be 119-84.
“Our members carried a strong message of responsible governing to the voters, and it was obviously well received,” Smith said. “Big government is not the answer to everything, and the people of Pennsylvania know it, and that’s why they voted to strengthen the House Republican majority.”
Important victories in the election included all Republican freshmen and sophomore members winning their re-election races and a pick-up of eight seats. The pick-up seats and the districts are:
- Jason Ortitay, 46th Legislative District, Washington and Allegheny counties.
- Ryan Warner, 52nd Legislative District, Fayette County and Westmoreland counties.
- Harry Lewis, 74th Legislative District, Chester County.
- Jeff Wheeland, 83rd Legislative District, Lycoming County.
- David Parker, 115th Legislative District, Monroe County.
- Aaron Kaufer, 120th Legislative District, Luzerne County.
- Tom Quigley, 146th Legislative District, Montgomery County.
- Kate Klunk, 169th Legislative District, York County.
The House Republican leaders said the election results were a reflection of the Republican Caucus’ work to make a more prosperous Pennsylvania. The results can be seen in the state’s unemployment rate, which has dropped to 5.7 percent from the 8.2 percent in January 2011.
“Pennsylvanians spoke loudly with their votes yesterday as they clearly approved of our approach to move this Commonwealth in the right direction,” Turzai said. “We have been fiscally and legislatively responsible. We have to be stewards of taxpayers’ hard-earned money, work to improve the business climate so we have family-sustaining jobs and a robust economy, and continue to bring integrity back to Harrisburg.”
Reed said, “We were able to win in districts all across Pennsylvania, growing our already strong majority, because our candidates understood the work we have been doing to improve our Commonwealth. We won many tough races against a huge voter registration edge, and we are ready to face the challenges ahead of us.”
The House Republican leaders made it clear. The voters in 119 legislative districts sent a clear mandate for each member to make Pennsylvania government accountable and more prosperous while keeping state spending under control.
The House returns to session next Wednesday, Nov. 12. A caucus of next session’s members will be held to elect the Leadership team. The positions to be elected will be: majority leader, whip, Appropriations Committee chairman, caucus chairman, policy committee chairman, caucus administrator and caucus secretary. The caucus will also elect its “speaker-designee.” The speaker of the House is elected by a majority vote of the full body; next session’s election of speaker will be held on swearing-in day, Jan. 6, 2015.