Biden Endorses Heather Boyd in Special Election That Will Determine Control of Pennsylvania House

Campaign signs for Heather Boyd and Katie Ford are seen, Thursday, May 4, 2023, in Aldan, Pa. The two are running in a special election in the Philadelphia suburbs that will determine whether Democrats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will maintain control of the chamber or if Republicans will reclaim the majority control they held for 12 years until this January. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

By Sean Kitchen

May 15, 2023

I am incredibly proud to endorse Heather Boyd for Pennsylvania House District 163,” Biden said. “Heather is an experienced public servant who will protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, stand up for common sense gun safety laws and expand access to voting rights. Electing her could not be more important.”

President Joe Biden on Monday endorsed Delaware County Democrat Heather Boyd in a race that will determine control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and could affect key issues, including reproductive freedom and voting rights.

Boyd takes on Republican Katie Ford on Tuesday in an election that will decide who will serve the 163rd district in the Pennsylvania House, a seat vacated by former Rep. Mike Zabel (D-Delaware), who resigned in March after facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

Biden noted that this race “will determine the future of so many fundamental freedoms that Pennsylvanians hold dear.”

“That’s why I am incredibly proud to endorse Heather Boyd for Pennsylvania House District 163,” the president added. “Heather is an experienced public servant who will protect a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, stand up for common sense gun safety laws and expand access to voting rights. Electing her could not be more important.”

Biden Endorses Heather Boyd in Special Election That Will Determine Control of Pennsylvania House
Photo: Heather Boyd for PA

Democrats flipped the Pennsylvania House last November and have a one-seat majority for the first time since 2009.

Since then, they have passed bills that address the teacher shortage and protect workers’ existing rights, while granting them new ones. Democrats also passed the Fairness Act, which amends the Pennsylvania Humans Relations Code to protect members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination. They are further poised to pass a packet of gun reform bills after the House returns to session.

If Ford wins and Republicans regain control of the House, their legislative priorities could include targeting abortion rights, trying to limit the governor’s regulatory powers, and restricting voting rights.

The 163rd House District was once a Republican stronghold. The GOP held the seat for 40 years from 1979 to 2019, but Democrats flipped it, along with 10 other state House seats, in 2018 to retake the majority. Zabel won the seat by almost seven points in 2018 but increased that margin to 30 points in 2022 under the commonwealth’s new legislative maps

Boyd and Ford were both nominated by members of the Delaware Democratic and Republican committees to fill the open House seat. Boyd founded the Delaware County chapter of the National Organization of Women (N.O.W.) and worked as a chief of staff for Rep. Leanne Kruger (D-Delaware) and district director for US Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Delaware). Ford served as a combat medic in the Army and works as a behavioral therapist.

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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