December 8 – A judge yesterday swore in Democrat Joanna McClinton as presiding officer of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives – apropos of nothing.
A common pleas court judge from Delaware County was on hand yesterday and the swearing in happened. Just like that.
At the moment, there are 101 Republicans in the PA House and 99 Democrats. This is because two members who were voted in to other seats in the PA and US legislature have resigned. One member passed away and was still voted in for office.
So there are three vacant seats for Democrats.
PA Representative Rob Kauffman said, “You cannot make this stuff up. There’s no precedence for this, that I’m aware of. When you have a Republic, you have the orderly transition of power. You have precedence that you operate off of. You have the constitution. You have laws. That is why these folks talk about democracy rather than the Republic because they frankly don’t care about the orderly transition. They don’t really care about the constitution. They don’t care about any of those things, but they will say that on November 8, they were elected as a majority, despite the fact that they don’t have members that are serving in those seats. I’ve never heard of what happened on Election Day as far as the number of members that were elected, that is what carries for the rest of the session. No. It’s always been the number of members who are present. That’s how we operate.”
This is all headed into court.
The session will begin on January 3.
Kauffman said, “Unless this can be worked out in the courts over the next month, I would suspect that swearing in day is literally a swearing in day and there would be no organization. There would not be an election of speaker because if there was a speaker elected, it would be a Republican, because of the number of members that are present.”
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM wondered, “If all the Republicans walk out, say everybody in the House walks out on the Republican side, then they would elect their own speaker and they would rock on, right? Could they do that? So every Republican walks out, and it’s just a whole bunch of House Democrats and they decide McClinton you’re it, and we now start the session, whether or not the Republicans are here or not. Could they do that?”
Kauffman said, “They would need a quorum and I believe that would deprive them of a quorum if we all walked out. If I were not part of the disaster, it would be fascinating. As somebody who is fascinated, enjoys government, the process, this is a case study that has never been seen.”
The seat from the person who has passed away could be up for grabs for Republicans – if they can get a campaign together. It would give them control of the House.
Kauffman said, “I reached out to the potential candidate, Carrie DelRosso, and she has not committed to running yet, but it would appear as though that she is going to get in the race.”
Ryan said, “We’re running out of time. What is she waiting for?”
Kauffman said, “When you run a statewide race, she’s been exhausted by the 24/7 race around the state. So she’s trying to recoup, reorganize and of course she’s waiting on commitments for funding because this is a sprint, it’s not a marathon. So she’s going to be on the ground doing the grassroots stuff and there needs to be some financial commitments from the big dogs.”