Democrat Heather Boyd is expected to win the special election for Pennsylvania’s 163rd state House district on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, allowing Democrats to maintain a narrow grip on the legislative body.
Boyd, a former state legislator and congressional aide, defeated Republican Katie Ford in the contest. The district includes parts of Delaware County outside of Philadelphia. The district became vacant earlier this year after Democratic Rep. Michael Zabel (D) due to allegations of sexual harassment.
Boyd’s victory is also a victory for the state’s Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro (D), who will have to contend with a Republican-controlled state Senate and House if Ford wins.
Abortion access will play a key role in the campaign leading up to Tuesday’s special election, with Boyd tying Ford to GOP efforts to block the procedure in Pennsylvania. Boyd released an attack ad earlier this month that featured Shapiro’s warning that a GOP majority in the state House would prevent him from vetoing anti-abortion legislation.
However, during a televised debate hosted by WHTM-TV in Harrisburg, which is owned by The Hill’s parent company Nexstar, Ford said he is personally opposed to abortion but will not act to State law on the matter is subject to change.
Abortion was a key factor in Pennsylvania’s election last year, with suburban voters overwhelmingly voting Democratic after Democratic candidates made preserving access to abortion a key issue. Democrats took back control of the state house for the first time since 2010 and also saw gains at the gubernatorial, Senate, and congressional levels.
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