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Bucks County special election Pennsylvania state House District 140: What to expect

Pennsylvania House of Representatives control is up for grabs in a special election. It's the fourth time in a year.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is once again at a crossroads as a special election in the Philadelphia suburbs could determine which party takes control. This is the fourth time in a year that a vacancy has put the evenly-divided lower chamber in a deadlock, and the stakes are high as voters in the 140th state House district in Bucks County head to the polls.

The vacancy was created when former Democratic state Rep. John Galloway was elected to a judgeship last year, leaving the chamber deadlocked at 101-101. Now, voters will choose between Democrat Jim Prokopiak and Republican Candace Cabanas to fill the critical 102nd seat and determine which party will control the House.

Prokopiak, an attorney from Levittown, has a background in public service, having served on the Pennsbury School Board and the Falls Township Board of Supervisors. Cabanas, on the other hand, is a political newcomer with experience in the home health care and hospitality industries.

The outcome of this special election could have significant implications for the balance of power in the Pennsylvania House. Democrats won a majority in the 2022 midterm election, but Republicans occupied more seats by the time the term began in January due to vacancies created after the election. Democrats regained the majority last February after winning special elections to fill the vacancies, and they beat back a third challenge to their majority in September.

The 140th state House district is located in the southeasternmost corner of Bucks County, an area that has historically favored Democrats in high-profile races. However, there are signs that Republicans could prevail in the district, as evidenced by the performance of fourth-term Republican U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in the area.

As of February 1, there were 41,190 voters registered in District 140, with Democrats making up 50% of the registered voters, Republicans 33%, and independents 13%. Turnout in the district's general election in 2022 was 19,130 voters, about 45% of registered voters at the time.

Before Election Day, 2,983 ballots were cast, with 79% from Democrats and 13% from Republicans. This is lower than the 5,170 pre-Election Day ballots cast in the 2022 general election in District 140.

The Associated Press will provide coverage for the special election, with polls closing at 8 p.m. ET. The AP does not make projections and will declare a winner only when it's determined there is no scenario that would allow the trailing candidates to close the gap. As of the time tabulation stopped for the night in the 2022 general election, 89% of the vote had been tabulated in District 31, 97% in District 141, and 93% in District 142.

The special election will be closely watched as it could determine the balance of power in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and the outcome will have implications for the future of the state's legislative agenda.

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