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PRIMER: Tomorrow’s Majority-Making Pennsylvania Special Election Has Huge Implications for the State and the Country

Press Releases

WASHINGTON — Tomorrow, a must-win, majority-making special election in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, will shape the landscape of fundamental freedoms in the state and serve as the latest litmus test for this November’s elections. DLCC Spotlight candidate Jim Prokopiak is running against Republican Candace Cabanas in a razor-tight race in HD-140 to protect Democrats’ majority in the state House. If Republicans win this race, they will be only one seat away from having the ability to take full control of the legislature and enact legislation that will move Pennsylvania backward, with one special election in April in solid Republican territory. 

Here are ten things you need to know:

  1. This special election comes when the Pennsylvania House stands at 101 Democrats, 100 Republicans, and 2 vacancies. The chamber was a 101-101 tie before a Republican state legislator resigned on Friday. That seat is a Republican +30 seat so control of the chamber will effectively be decided by this special election tomorrow.
  2. Republicans already control the Pennsylvania Senate. The DLCC is looking to make gains in the Pennsylvania Senate this cycle and has included the Pennsylvania Senate on our target map. However, to check extreme MAGA Republican PA Senators, we must hold the House.
  3. This special election is in Bucks County, considered one of the biggest “swing” counties in the state. Biden won this district in 2020 but so did Republican Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick in 2022.
  4. The Democratic candidate Jim Prokopiak is fighting for better schools, reproductive freedom, and an economy that works for all. The Republican candidate Candace Cabanas will be an extension of MAGA Republicans.
  5. The DLCC has been all-in on this race since the beginning, investing $50k into the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus ahead of this election and devoting significant staff support to help the Prokopiak campaign emerge victorious.
  6. If Republicans win back the majority, they will legislate Pennsylvania backward, including pushing an abortion ban. In 2022, Pennsylvania Republicans were very close to putting anti-abortion and anti-voting constitutional amendments on the ballot when they held both majorities – there’s no doubt they’d try again if they win this special election.
  7. Protecting the majority in the House would retain the speaker’s gavel for Speaker Joanna McClinton and ensure Gov. Shapiro can deliver on the progress that Pennsylvanians deserve. Enshrining abortion rights, raising the minimum wage, and protecting against LGBTQ+ attacks have been Democratic priorities in the House.
  8. Bucks County is always closely watched as a litmus test for Democrats’ enthusiasm in suburbs that are often the deciding factor in close battleground elections. While this district is slightly more Democratic than the county as a whole, it is vitally important because it’s a good litmus test for where things stand right now in suburbs across the country.
  9. The county has also become a national focal point of culture wars – last summer, Moms for Liberty held their national convention in Philly to remain close to the Central Bucks School District, where battles around book bans and pride flags raged.
  10. This race doesn’t just have huge implications for the landscape of abortion rights and fundamental freedoms in Pennsylvania — it will also provide important clues for what to expect in races up and down the ballot in 2024, including the battle to hold the Pennsylvania House in November and the Trump-Biden rematch.

The DLCC remains “all-in” on ensuring that Jim Prokopiak wins this election. Last week, DLCC President Heather Williams and Democratic House candidate Jim Prokopiak hosted a virtual press conference talking about this special election tomorrow which will shape the Pennsylvania House majority. 

To watch a full recording of Friday’s Zoom press conference, click here.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) is the official Democratic Party committee dedicated to winning America’s state legislatures and building state infrastructure. Over the last decade, we have fought cycle-over-cycle to gain a dozen new legislative chamber majorities and we are leading the effort to bring national attention and investment to our ballot level. State legislatures are the building blocks of our democracy and have the closest connections to Americans’ day-to-day lives. From protecting fundamental freedoms and voting rights to growing the middle class, the DLCC and state legislators are moving the Democratic agenda forward and shaping the future of this country.