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State House tied again after Democrat resigns

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(The Center Square) – Democrats’ narrow lead in the state House evaporated Wednesday after Rep. Sara Innamorato resigned her seat in the 21st district to focus on the Allegheny County Executive campaign instead.

The decision means the partisan split in the lower chamber stands at 101-101, making an already uncertain path through budget gridlock more obscured.

“Sara is an unwavering advocate for her neighbors and a strong voice for all working families,” said House Speaker Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia. “Her tenacity and commitment will be missed.”

Innamorato – elected to her third term in the state House in 2022 – triumphed over a crowded primary field for arguably the county’s most powerful office to face off against Republican nominee Joe Rockey in the November general election.

A slew of high-profile supporters stood behind Innamorato’s bid for the county office, including U.S. Rep. Summer Lee, Gov. Josh Shapiro, Lt. Gov. Austin Davis and Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey.

McClinton set a special election to fill Innamorato’s district in Pittsburgh on Sept. 19, less than a week before the chamber is scheduled to return to session.

The development adds another layer to the complexities of solving the three-week budget impasse – where Shapiro, House Democrats and Senate Republicans remain gridlocked over competing educational spending priorities.

The even split is likely temporary, however, as Democrats expect to hold onto Innamorato’s seat come September.

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