Capitol Beat

A quick guide to PA’s House District 140 special election

Voters in Bucks County will head to the polls in February to elect a new state representative in an election that will determine control of the state House.

House District 140

House District 140 Screenshot (Pennsylvania House of Representatives website)

After Democratic state Rep. John Galloway resigned his state House seat to take office as a district judge last month, House Speaker Joanna McClinton scheduled a special election for February to fill the now-vacant seat.

Ahead of the special election for the seat in the 140th state House District, City & State has put together a quick guide to next month’s special election in Bucks County, which will not only determine who succeeds Galloway, but which party will control the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the early months of 2024.

The district

The 140th House District, which Galloway represented from 2007 to 2023, covers a portion of Bucks County that includes Falls Township, Morrisville and Tullytown boroughs, as well as part of Middletown Township. 

According to state House archives, the seat has been represented by a Democrat since at least 1969, when state Rep. Milton Berkes, a longtime chair of the Bucks County Democratic Committee, held the seat. 

The candidates

Local party committees have selected their nominees for the House District 140 special election, which is set for Tuesday, Feb. 13.

Democrats in December selected Jim Prokopiak, a member of the Pennsbury School Board and a former Falls Township supervisor, to run for the vacant seat. 

Prokopiak, in a statement released following his selection by the Bucks County Democratic Committee last month, listed the cost of living, housing, funding public schools and abortion rights as four key priorities, vowing to “work with our Democratic majority to make real change in people’s lives.” The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO endorsed Prokopiak on Tuesday, with Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Angela Ferritto calling him “a strong advocate for unions and the issues our members care about.”

In December, the Bucks County GOP picked Candace Cabanas, a Falls Township resident, to run as the Republican Party nominee. 

According to her campaign website, Cabanas has pledged to fight for working-class families in Bucks County, support first responders and make health care more accessible. On the issue of education, per her website, Cabanas said she is “dedicated to securing our community’s rightful share of education funding, ensuring our students are well-prepared for future success.” 

The stakes

Control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is on the line in this latest special election for a vacant House seat. With Democrats and Republicans currently tied at 101-101, the winner of the House District 140 race will determine which party will lead the chamber – at least for now. 

Several member resignations over the last year have forced the chamber into a 101-101 tie, and this latest vacancy in House District 140 has attracted the attention of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, which has made the race one of its early priorities in the 2024 election cycle.

The last election in the 140th House District, which occurred last year, saw Galloway win reelection unopposed with 17,970 votes, according to official election returns from the Pennsylvania Department of State.