State Senate Republicans have a new majority leader for the first time in eight years.
Sen. Jake Corman, R-Centre, will lead the 30-member caucus for the next two-year legislative session along with Senate President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati of Jefferson County, who was re-elected to his post Wednesday.
Corman ousted Sen. Dominic Pileggi, R-Delaware, who had been criticized for not advancing conservative policies, and who many say has clashed with Scarnati.
“Everyone has an itch every now and then, and after eight years, I guess some people had an itch,” Corman said. “We move forward, but Sen. Pileggi will remain a very important part of this caucus.
Corman couldn’t say Wednesday how the leadership change will affect the caucus, though he acknowledged that the Senate GOP doesn’t share any of the top priorities of Gov.-elect Tom Wolf.
“We’re going to get together soon after the New Year and talk about how we want to move forward — what are the issues we want to move forward, how do we want to approach the issues,” Corman said. “How different we look will depend on the members going forward.”
In the House, Rep. Mike Turzai, R-Allegheny, will replace the retiring speaker, Rep. Sam Smith, R-Jefferson.
Rep. Dave Reed, R-Indiana, will take Turzai’s place as majority leader, after besting Rep. Stan Saylor, R-York.
The top two leaders in the House Democratic minority caucus fended off challenges, and those in the very top posts in the Senate Democratic minority will remain.