HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — All 203 state House seats are on the ballot this November, and this election could determine who controls the Pennsylvania legislature in Harrisburg.
There are 42 state House seats in this area. Twelve have no challengers and most of the others have incumbents who rarely lose. But this year, two local Republican legislators are being targeted by two strong Democratic challengers. All four of the candidates are women.
Republican Lori Mizgorski, a former township commissioner, is in her first term representing the 30th District in the Noth Hills.
“I come from a background in local government, and we always did things in a bipartisan fashion, and I really wanted to take that background with me to Harrisburg,” Mizgorski told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
While Mizgorski points to her unanimously-approved Do Not Call legislation, Democrat Lissa Geiger Shulman, a teacher, criticizes Mizgorski for siding with her party against Governor Tom Wolf on the coronavirus pandemic.
“People need to listen to science experts, and we haven’t seen that from the incumbent. She has very much voted with her party and the party’s approach to the response over the advice of public health experts,” said Shulman.
In the West Hills and Quaker Valley’s 44th District, another Republican newcomer, Valerie Gaydos, is defending her seat.
“I am not a career politician and don’t plan to be a career politician. I am 53 years old and have a lot of success in business and reason why I’m running for office is that I wanted to take that real-world experience and try to make government work for the people,” Gaydos said.
Gaydos points to her bill, now law, that allows pharmacists to tell consumers of lower-priced prescriptions, but she’s in a rematch against Democrat Michelle Knoll, a teacher and former school board member.
“I think we need more educators in Harrisburg. Fully a third of our legislative budget is dedicated to education, and we have very few educators right now who are in the general assembly,” says Knoll.
Democrats need to turn nine seats to win control of the state House, which is why incumbents Mizgorski and Gaydos are getting so much attention from Democrats Shulman and Knoll.