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Republican's resignation shifts power back to Democrats in Pennsylvania House ahead of election

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The resignation of a Republican lawmaker in the previously deadlocked Pennsylvania House of Representatives has put the balance of power back to Democrats, ahead of a special election next week for another vacant position.

Rep. Joe Adams, R-Pike, resigned on Friday, saying previously that medical news had changed his focus.

“It has been an honor to serve you, the citizens of Pike and Wayne counties, in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives,” he said in a prepared statement. “Taking care of my family, understandably, must now be my priority. I will continue to work locally to help our community, its organizations, businesses and people.”

The freshman lawmaker's resignation leaves the state House at a 101-100 Democratic majority. A Democrat's resignation last year had the House deadlocked at 101-101, and a special election next week will fill that vacancy. Republicans control the state Senate, while Gov. Josh Shapiro is a Democrat.

Adams’ seat represents Pike and Wayne counties, in the northeastern part of the state. He won election in 2022 with about 63% of the vote over his Democratic challenger. Republicans have edged out their Democratic opponents in recent elections, with former President Donald Trump winning the area in 2020.

The resignation queues up another special election for the chamber, which will be scheduled as early as two months from now. Three special elections in the past year have determined party control of the chamber.

Next week’s special election in Bucks County, for a seat that has historically favored Democrats, will now either strengthen Democrats’ hold, or return the chamber to a deadlock until the election for Adams’ seat.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Speaker of the House said information about the election would be forthcoming.