By Peter Hall
Democrats secured control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Thursday when incumbent Republican state Rep. Todd Stephens of Montgomery County conceded his loss to Democratic challenger Melissa Cerrato.
Montgomery County elections officials counted provisional ballots on Thursday after lawyers for the Democratic and Republican parties dropped challenges to their validity, Philadelphia elections lawyer Adam Bonin, who works with Democrats, said.
The ballots contained 38 votes for Cerrato, Bonin said, adding to the 37 votes Cerrato received on Wednesday to erase the razor-thin 14-vote lead Stephens held earlier in the week. Stephens has represented the 151st House District since 2010.
The vote total stands at 16,799-16,741, with Cerrato winning by 58 votes.
“I have spent months reminding voters of the importance of their votes and assuring them that every vote matters,” Cerrato said in a statement. “Now that every eligible vote has been counted, it is my great honor to accept the results of this election and step forward as the next state representative of Pennsylvania’s 151st House District.”
Cerrato’s victory gives House Democrats the 102-member majority they need to take control of the House from Republicans, who have held control of the lower chamber for all but four of the last 28 years. Democrats were last in the majority from 2007 to 2010.
Cerrato said in a text message that Stephens “graciously called and conceded” Thursday afternoon. Stephens did not return a call Thursday evening.
Peter Hall is a reporter with the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, where this story first appeared.