HARRISBURG (AP) – Democrats in the PA House have moved to control the chamber and replace one of their incumbents who died and two others who resigned from the House after winning higher office. Shortly after Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton of Philadelphia was sworn in on the House floor on Wednesday, she scheduled special elections for Feb. 7 for all three seats. McClinton says she will serve as acting speaker until the chamber will vote on a new speaker when it reconvenes for swearing-in on Jan. 3.

Reaction to the House Democrats actions have come from PA House Republican Leader, Lancaster County Rep. Bryan Cutler. Cutler said, “Today’s illegitimate power grab by Rep. McClinton, who was sworn-in without notice and in complete secret, is a paperwork insurrection typical of a Democratic Party that is constantly displaying that their last two years of rhetoric on respect for institutions has been nothing but crocodile tears. While admitting three vacancies exist by calling special elections in the 32nd, 34th and 35th districts, vacancies that gives Republicans a 101-99 majority in the House, Democrats are creating internal confusion by alleging they have a fake, gerrymandered majority that has the authority to conduct the business of the House. Instead of working cooperatively to navigate the unique circumstances before us, House Democrats have instead set a terrible precedent for what to expect over the next two years and beyond. Moreover, they have started this session with a sad waste of time and resources that is reminiscent of the failed petty conduct their caucus has been engaging in for the better part of the last decade.”