Pennsylvania Democrats celebrated this week as candidate Lindsay Powell won a special election for House representative for the state’s 21st District. Powell’s victory officially places Democrats back in control of the Pennsylvania State House after losing control earlier this year.
Lindsay Powell’s campaign declared victory Tuesday night as results came in for the special election in Pennsylvania’s 21st District, which represents Allegheny County. Winning roughly two-thirds of the vote, Powell will fill the seat left vacant by Sara Innamorato, who resigned earlier this year to run for the office of Allegheny County executive. While declaring victory, Powell pledged to represent her district’s “hardworking families that deserve someone who will fight in Harrisburg to deliver good jobs, dignified pay, safe housing, strong schools and beautiful community assets.” Powell has declared that she will “fight for the rights, health and freedom of all of our neighbors” in the district.
Powell, 32, has long been involved in public service and politics. She is a graduate of Wheaton College, where she studied sociology, and Carnegie Mellon University, where she earned a Master’s degree in public policy. Powell also served as a Fulbright scholar in Malaysia, where she taught English and worked on environmental justice issues with local girls. She then involved herself in Democratic politics in the United States, including a stint in the White House Office of Legislative Affairs during the Obama administration. Powell is currently listed as the director of workforce strategies of InnovatePGH, a nonprofit organization that describes itself as “a next generation public-private partnership powered by a coalition of civic institutions representing the region’s university, business, philanthropic, and government leadership.”
Powell’s victory regains Democrats’ a one-seat majority in the Pennsylvania state House. Pennsylvania House Democrats first gained control of the House in 2022, the first time they have held a majority there since 2010, but have struggled to maintain that lead as several seats became open and held special elections. Powell’s victory gives Democrats control of the House again; Republicans maintain a majority in the state Senate. And this split reflects the national political scene, in which Congress is also closely divided; Democrats currently control the Senate, while Republicans hold a narrow majority in the House of Representatives.
With crucial elections in 2024 and a wide variety of issues on which Democrats and Republicans remain divided, the fights for political control will continue in Pennsylvania and across the country. Powell’s win has given Democrats a key victory in that fight while elevating the role of a rising political advocate and public servant.