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GOP Picks Pennsylvania's First Female Senate Majority Leader

Kim Ward State Senate Website
Third-term Sen. Kim Ward of Westmoreland County during a Transportation Committee Meeting in June of 2020.

Republicans who control Pennsylvania's state Senate voted Thursday to select the chamber’s first female majority leader and promote their majority leader of the past six years.

Third-term Sen. Kim Ward of Westmoreland County will replace Sen. Jake Corman as majority leader. Ward, who has chaired committees that handle transportation and gambling issues, was first elected in 2008.

Corman, the chamber's Republican majority leader since 2015, will fill the empty post of president pro tempore when the Legislature's new session starts in January. Republicans will return with at least the same size majority, 29-21, and possibly larger, depending on the outcome of one undecided contest.

Corman, who has represented the State College area in the Senate since 1999, will replace the outgoing Joe Scarnati, who did not run for reelection.

Senate Democrats plan to select a new leadership team next week.

The outcome of one Senate race remains in doubt in western Pennsylvania, where second-term incumbent Democrat Jim Brewster is neck-and-neck with Republican Nicole Ziccarelli in a district that straddles Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

In the House of Representatives, minority Democrats were voting Thursday to replace their floor leader, Frank Dermody, of Allegheny County, who conceded his reelection bid earlier this week.

House Republicans on Tuesday reelected their leadership team of House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, and Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre.

Republicans there were expected to pad their 110 to 93 majority with a couple pickups in close contests.