Why it matters: The vote will determine the balance of power in a swing state.
Pennsylvania is a crucial swing state, playing an important role in the presidential election, as well as determining which party holds power in the United States Congress. Whichever party gains the upper hand in the state can make a big difference in Washington, as well as writing laws in Pennsylvania.
It is also one of two states, along with Virginia, where the legislative chambers are divided by party.
In Harrisburg, Democrats have controlled the governor’s office since 2015, and Governor Josh Shapiro won his first term convincingly in November 2022. Republicans, on the other hand, have maintained strong control over the Senate for decades.
Democrats won the House majority in 2022 for the first time in 12 years and by the smallest of margins —Only the resignation of Innamorato was necessary for the division to be equitable.
Background: The state has seen several special elections this year.
In May, Heather Boyd, a Democrat, won a closely watched special election in southeastern Delaware County, part of the Philadelphia suburbs. Top Democrats, including President Biden and Governor Shapiro, had framed the race as crucial to protecting reproductive rights in Pennsylvania.
But on the same day, in a separate special election, Republicans retained a state House seat in north-central Pennsylvania with the victory of Michael Stender, a school board member and firefighter.
Heading to third special election of the year on Tuesday, Democratic candidate Ms. Powell, 32, who works in workforce development, was seen as a strong favoritewith a considerable fundraising advantage.
She aspired to become the first African American woman to represent the district, which Innamorato captured in 2022 with 63 percent of the vote.
Republican officials acknowledged they would have a hard time winning the predominantly Democratic district. Still, Autenreith, 65, had been active in the election campaign.
What happens next: The state House could soon be back in play.
Even with Powell’s victory, Pennsylvania voters could soon face yet another special election with a lot at stake.
If state Rep. John Galloway, a Democrat who represents a district northeast of Philadelphia, wins the race for a district judge seat in November, as expected, the chamber would be split again until another race can be held for occupy his position.