PA House Democrat Sara Innamorato resigns. Her departure now leaves the House evenly split
The Democratic nominee for Allegheny County executive, announced her resignation in a statement Wednesday after five years of service.
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Pennsylvania Democratic Rep. Sara Innamorato, the Democratic nominee for Allegheny County executive, announced her resignation from the state House of Representatives on Wednesday, July 19.
The state House is now evenly split between Democrats and Republicans at 101-101, taking away Democrats’ slim majority. Democrats won 102 seats on Election Day in November, taking the state House from Republicans in 2022.
“It has been an honor of a lifetime to serve as your representative for the 21st Legislative District,” Innamorato said in a statement Wednesday.
“Throughout my time as a representative, my constituents’ stories inspired and drove my legislative priorities around creating safe and healthy communities where we can all thrive. Together, we've done amazing things to improve our region, and I am excited to continue serving our neighbors for years to come.”
Democratic Speaker Joanna McClinton scheduled a special election to fill the open seat for Sept. 19, a week before the lawmakers are expected to return to session.
"Sara is an unwavering advocate for her neighbors and a strong voice for all working families," McClinton said in the statement. "Her tenacity and commitment are admirable, and she will be missed in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.”
The Democratic Speaker added that Innamorato's office will continue to provide constituent services.
House Republican spokesman Jason Gottesman called Innamorato’s resignation an effort by Democrats to “gerrymander the membership of the House” to maintain their power. He added it would have an impact on the upcoming budget negotiations.
Republican Rep. Seth Grove (York) and chair of the PA House GOP Appropriations Committee also criticized the decision and House Democrats in a statement.
“Now you know why the House won’t be in voting session until the end of September and there will be no budget impasse resolution until then,” he said. “The House budget summer vacation brought to you by the House Democrats politics first agenda. This was all pre planned.”
Even with their slim majority, Democrats used their authority this year to pass several caucus’ priorities such as gun control, and protections for LGBTQ+ people. But Innamorato’s open seat now makes it harder for Democrats to advance additional measures on party-line votes.
Innamorato won the Democratic primary for county executive in May and will face Republican Joe Rockey in the November election to replace Rich Fitzgerald, who is serving his third and final term.
The district, which includes Pittsburgh’s Strip District and Lawrenceville neighborhoods, as well as part of the northern suburbs, is not expected to flip, especially considering Innamorato won 64% of the vote in last year’s election. Candidates for the seat will be picked by local party officials.