Democrat Heather Boyd defeats Republican Katie Ford in Delco special election

With a crucial win in Pennsylvania’s 163rd state House district, Democrats retain control over the chamber.

Boyd hugging supporters at Election 2023 watch party.

Boyd hugging supporters at Election 2023 watch party. (Kenny Cooper)

Democrat Heather Boyd has defeated Republican Katie Ford in the pivotal special election for a Pennsylvania state House seat in Delaware County, giving Democrats a narrow majority over the chamber once more.

Boyd, 46, campaigned on a platform of addressing public education funding, protecting abortion rights, and tackling racial disparities in maternal health.

Her win ensures that the Pennsylvania GOP has no path to restricting abortion via an amendment to the state constitution.

“Oh my god amazing, I’m just super excited obviously,” Boyd told WHYY News. “I never feel super confident walking into a race. You never know. The voters have to do what the voters have to do. And I’m so thankful to them.”

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Democrats flipped the house in November for the first time since 2010, granting first-term Gov. Josh Shapiro a legislative chamber to help carry out his vision.

However, the party’s slim majority was short-lived. State Rep. Mike Zabel (D., Delaware) resigned from office in March following sexual harassment allegations. His departure opened up a vacancy in the 163rd District, covering Aldan, Clifton Heights, Collingdale, and parts of Darby Township and Upper Darby.

Boyd is currently the chair of the Upper Darby Democratic Committee. She previously worked as a teacher, school board director, legislative aide, and district director for U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon.

Public education funding is at the top of Boyd’s agenda when she reaches Harrisburg. But tonight?

“Maybe some sleep and hugging all of my friends and all of these wonderful people,” she said.

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