On Tuesday, January 5th at noon, the PA State Senate is scheduled to convene in its historic ceremonial rite of the commencement of a new legislative session, and the swearing in of the recently elected members to the upper chamber. However, this year may be historic in a totally different way, which may result in anything but ceremonial. Here’s the reason why – in the 45th Senatorial District (Allegheny/Westmoreland), the PA Secretary of State certified Democrat incumbent Jim Brewster the winner over Republican challenger Nicole Ziccarelli by a margin of 69 votes. Due to irregularities/inconsistencies between the Allegheny and Westmoreland Election Bureaus on the counting of mail-in ballots, Ziccarelli went to Commonwealth Court and won, to then lose when the PA Supreme Court ruled in favor of Brewster. Ziccarelli‘s attorneys have filed suit in Federal Court but the Court is not scheduled to hear the case until the 8th of January. However, Ziccarelli has petitioned the Senate to seat her and not seat Brewster; and then when you add the Senate Republicans’ disagreement in the PA Supreme Court election decisions that have followed along party lines (5/2 democratic majority), there is a distinct possibility that the Senate Republicans may decide, within their constitutional prerogative, not to seat Brewster. Add the following caveats to the drama – the presiding officer of the Senate is Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who suffice to say, will be at the rostrum running the Senate proceedings; and, add the recently elected majority leader, Sen. Kim Ward (R-Westmoreland), as her first day ‘on the job’ as the Leader, to contest the seating of Brewster.
Just when you thought the November elections were finally over, January 5th may be a day that will continue the election controversies!