Our opinion: Squabbles forget constituency

It’s time for the political games to come to an end over the date of three special elections that will decide control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Democrats eked out a thin 102-101 majority in the House in the November election, but three of those Democrats will not be in the chamber on Jan. 4 when the next legislative session begins. Rep. Tony DeLuca passed away earlier this year but still won his seat, Austin Davis won his seat but is resigning to be the state lieutenant governor and Summer Lee is resigning to take a seat in Congress.

That, of course, has led to a Republican claim that they still have control of the chamber because they have more members physically in the chamber when the session begins.

Democrats have named Rep. Joanna McClinton of Philadelphia as speaker, and she set a Feb. 17 date for special elections to decide the three vacant seats. Rep. Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, says he is still the House Speaker and wants to set the date for a special election for May while filing a lawsuit to challenge the Democrats’ special election date.

In our opinion, May is far too late. Feb. 10, the earliest date the special elections can be held, is likely too early if the goal is to have the best candidates for the seats.

We don’t expect Republicans and Democrats to agree on much.

But state residents deserve better than this internecine squabbling over election dates. Given the tenuous state of each party’s leadership claim, it would seem the obvious course of action would be to split the difference on a special election date.

There is a legitimate question as to who actually controls the chamber. And until a court decides, it would be nice if the parties could actually come to a reasonable accommodation on the date of the special election date that will resolve the question once and for all.

Both parties claim to have the voters’ best interests at heart. But in our opinion, the parties are thinking only of themselves.


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