In the first red-to-blue flip of the cycle, Democratic Navy veteran and former Veterans Affairs official Pam Iovino defeated Allegheny County Republican chair D. Raja in the special election for Pennsylvania's vacant 37th Senate district.
The Pittsburgh-area seat was vacated when the former state senator, Republican Guy Reschenthaler, was elected to Pennsylvania's 14th Congressional District following the resignation of Rep. Tom Marino.
The special election was vicious, with both candidates pounding the airwaves — Iovino criticizing Raja's business practices at his IT firm, Raja waging a culture war against Iovino on abortion.
Republicans have firmly controlled both chambers of the Pennsylvania General Assembly ever since they engineered an aggressive gerrymander after winning office in 2010. Their gerrymander of congressional districts was struck down by the state Supreme Court last year, which was a key contributing factor in Democrats recapturing the House in November.