Despite losing a handful of Senate seats and perhaps a few in the state House of Representatives, Republicans retained their majorities in the both houses of the General Assembly and are in position to control the legislative agenda when the 2013-14 session begins in January.
With Democrats picking up three open seats previously held by the GOP, the Republican lead in the 50-member Senate was cut from 30-20 to 27-23.
In the House, the GOP margin of 111-92 at the beginning of the 2011-12 session may not hold, as three races remained too close to call at press time. The best-case scenario for Democrats would be a net pickup of three seats in the lower House, which would mean a Republican majority of 108-95. But it was possible there would be no net change at all.
The narrower majority — in the Senate, at least — means two things: Republican leaders will no longer have the luxury of allowing some of their members to vote no on controversial bills yet still have enough votes for passage, and the GOP majority is more vulnerable at the next general election in two years.
“The Republican Caucus has enough members in the Southeast who are thinking of retiring,” noted one longtime political observer. “They are in seats that could go to either party.”
Members and members-elect of the General Assembly were scheduled to meet in Harrisburg today to elect their caucus leaders. All members are set to be sworn in for the 2013-14 legislative session January 1.