By Stephen Williams
PHILADELPHIA — Pennsylvania House Speaker Joanna McClinton says the last week’s Democratic victory in a special election in Delaware County means that voters back their agenda and believe in their ability to get things done.
Democrat Heather Boyd, a former aide to U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-5th District, defeated Republican Katie Ford, a U.S. Army veteran, in the election to replace former state Democratic Rep. Mike Zabel, who resigned in March, after a lobbyist accused him of sexual harassment.
Boyd will now represent the 163rd District, which includes parts of Darby, Upper Darby and Drexel Hill, all suburbs of Philadelphia.
Boyd ran as an advocate of gun safety and women’s reproductive rights. Ford opposed abortion.
“The House Democratic Caucus is excited to welcome Rep.-elect Heather Boyd to the state House, and we’re proud that we’ve been able to successfully defend our majority three times in six months,” McClinton, D-Philadelphia, said. “It is clear that Pennsylvanians believe in our agenda and our ability to get things done. We’ve already begun advancing policies to make Pennsylvanians’ lives better: better jobs, better schools and better communities. And we look forward to returning to session next week to get back to work.”
Reflecting the stakes of the special election, Boyd spent about $1.3 million, compared to Ford’s $146,000. Pennsylvania’s Democratic Gov. Josh Shapiro was featured in a Boyd campaign commercial focusing on abortion rights and President Joe Biden endorsed Boyd.
In another special election Tuesday, Republican Michael Stender, a former firefighter and EMT defeated Democrat Trevor Finn, a Montour County commissioner, winning a seat vacated by former state Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver, a Republican of Northumberland County, who won a state Senate seat in the 27th District in a special election this year.
Stephen Williams is a reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.