In Pa. House, the night was good for GOP

Posted: November 07, 2012

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania lawmakers appear likely to launch a new session in Harrisburg next year with both chambers remaining under Republican majority control, although several familiar faces won't be returning.

Democrats picked up Republican Senate seats in Erie, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg on Tuesday.

Voters flipped at least one House seat, electing a Republican to a Clearfield County House seat vacated by retiring veteran Democratic Rep. Bud George. Several other competitive House races remained uncalled in late evening.

The House has been in GOP hands, ending the current two-year session with a 111-to-92 margin. The Senate has been at 30-to-20, so the margin next year will drop to 27-23.

Along with Republican Gov. Tom Corbett, the GOP majority has been struggling to adapt to a drop-off in state revenues in recent years.

Meanwhile, Eugene DePasquale, a Democratic state legislator from York County, won a three-way race for state auditor general in Tuesday's election.

DePasquale, 41, served as a deputy secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection in the Rendell administration.

His opponents were Republican John Maher, a state representative who ran on his standing as the only certified public accountant in the race, and Libertarian Party candidate Betsy Summers, a Wilkes-Barre businesswoman.

Both Maher and DePasquale also sought re-election in their state House districts on Tuesday. Both have served in the House since 2007. If DePasquale wins his House seat, he would have to give it up - necessitating a special election at extra expense to taxpayers.

Incumbent Jack Wagner is stepping down after serving the maximum two consecutive terms allowed by law.

The auditor general is an independent watchdog responsible for ensuring that public funds are spent properly and state programs are operated efficiently and effectively.

DePasquale earned a law degree while serving in the state Department of Environmental Protection. He said his executive and legislative experience qualified him for the job.

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