The Lead

Pa. House Democrats secure majority with Rep. Todd Stephens’ concession in close race

By: - November 17, 2022 6:01 pm

The Pennsylvania House (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

(*This story was updated at 6:20 p.m., Thursday, 11/17/2022 to include the vote total)

Democrats secured control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Thursday when incumbent Republican state Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery, conceded his loss to Democratic challenger Melissa Cerrato. 

Montgomery County elections officials counted provisional ballots on Thursday after lawyers for the Democratic and Republican parties dropped challenges to their validity, Philadelphia elections lawyer Adam Bonin, who works with Democrats, said.

The ballots contained 38 votes for Cerrato, Bonin said, adding to the 37 votes Cerrato received on Wednesday to erase the razor-thin 14-vote lead Stephens held earlier in the week. Stephens has represented the 151st Legislative District since 2010.

The vote total stands at 16,799-16,741, with Cerrato winning by 58 votes.

“I have spent months reminding voters of the importance of their votes and assuring them that every vote matters,” Cerrato said in a statement. “Now that every eligible vote has been counted, it is my great honor to accept the results of this election and step forward as the next state representative of Pennsylvania’s 151st House District.”

Cerrato’s victory gives House Democrats the 102-member majority they need to take control of the House from Republicans, who have held control of the lower chamber for all but four of the last 28 years. Democrats were last in the majority from 2007 to 2010.

Cerrato said in a text message that Stephens “graciously called and conceded,” Thursday afternoon. Stephens did not return a call from the Capital-Star on Thursday evening.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Peter Hall
Peter Hall

Peter Hall has been a journalist in Pennsylvania and New Jersey for more than 20 years, most recently covering criminal justice and legal affairs for The Morning Call in Allentown. His career at local newspapers and legal business publications has taken him from school board meetings to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and many points of interest between. He earned a degree in journalism from Susquehanna University.