On Tuesday, two candidates squared off to set up a general election in Pennsylvania for the seventh seat of the seven-person state Supreme Court. Democrats currently hold a 4-2 majority on the board, while Republicans are looking to narrow the Democratic supermajority held since 2021. The race is to fill a seat left vacant by longtime Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Max Baer, who died in October 2022 at age 74. Baer had been slated to be replaced just months after his death due to mandatory retirement age requirements.
Democrat Heather Boyd was projected to win the special election for Pennsylvania's 163rd state House district on Tuesday, defeating Republican Katie Ford in a close contest. The district became vacant earlier this year following Democratic Rep. Michael Zabel's resignation over allegations of sexual harassment.
Boyd's victory is also seen as a win for Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro (D), who would have faced additional challenges from a Republican-controlled state Senate and House if Ford had emerged victorious.
In response to her opponent's attack ad earlier this month warning that GOP control of the state house could prevent Gov. Shapiro from vetoing anti-abortion legislation, Ford stated she would not work towards changing current abortion laws within the state.
Democratic party members celebrated their recent successes within Pennsylvania politics; they regained control over the state house for first time since 2010 and saw victories at gubernatorial, Senate and congressional levels as well.
"The people have spoken," said Heather Boyd (D) during her acceptance speech Tuesday night."I am honored and grateful for your trust."
Katie Ford (R) graciously accepted defeat in her concession speech: "While we didn't come out with a win tonight," she said "we fought hard and brought important issues onto center stage."
Pennsylvania's political landscape continues to change as the Democratic party takes control of key positions in government. With just one seat left open on the state Supreme Court, both parties will focus their efforts on securing that final spot and potentially influencing future decisions related to election law and other pressing issues.