HARRISBURG (AP) – Partisan control of the PA House is hanging in the balance as state lawmakers, their families, and supporters arrive at the state Capitol to start a new two-year legislative session. In addition to taking their oaths of office today, state representatives must elect a speaker to serve as their chamber’s presiding officer. The November election was so close that what is normally a highly scripted event is instead a moment of drama and uncertainty. Democrats flipped a net of 12 seats in November. But that margin is now 101-99 for Republicans because Democrat Rep. Tony DeLuca died of cancer a month before winning reelection, Democrat Rep. Summer Lee quit to become a member of Congress, and Democrat Rep. Austin Davis resigned ahead of becoming lieutenant governor. Nearly a quarter of the House are newly elected members, turnover driven by retirements and incumbent defeats caused in part by redistricting that occurred after the 2000 census. The House speaker during the 2021-22 session, Lancaster County Rep. Bryan Cutler has said he no longer wants the job. As the House GOP’s designated floor leader, Cutler filed a still-pending lawsuit designed to delay the special elections to fill the Lee and Davis seats until May. The Democrat Leader, Philadelphia County Rep. Joanna McClinton moved to schedule those elections for Feb. 7, when voters will pick a successor to DeLuca. In the PA Senate, Republican Sen. Kim Ward of Westmoreland County will lead the chamber as Senate President Pro Tempore.