Pennsylvania State Rep. Dave Zimmerman (R-99) said Tuesday was “a sad day” and “a day of betrayal at the highest level” as 16 House Republicans, including Rep. Bryan Cutler (R-100), voted for a Democrat to become the Speaker of the House.
Following a midterm election and three vacated seats, Pennsylvania Republicans held a slim majority (101-99) in the House leading up to Tuesday’s vote for Speaker of the House. However, in an unexpected turn of events, Rep. Mark Rozzi (D-26) ended the day as Speaker of the House.
Sixteen Republicans joined the Democrats in voting for Rozzi, securing his victory with a vote of 115-85.
Rep. Carl Metzgar (R-69) was the other finalist for speaker, receiving support from 85 Republicans.
Zimmerman, who has often found himself on the wrong side of Republican leadership, said the events give a “view of the true Republican House Leaders who are hungry for power thinking only of themselves.”
“Our Republican Caucus voted four rounds and elected a Conservative Republican Speaker, Carl Metzger,” Zimmerman told The Lancaster Patriot. “Then [we] went to the House floor and our own Republican Leadership team deserted the rank and file members and voted with the Democrats and put Democratic Mark Rozzi in as Speaker.”
Rozzi said that he will govern as an independent, a claim that apparently won him over with Cutler.
“I pledge my allegiance and loyalty to no interest in this building,” said Rozzi. “To no interest in our politics. I pledge my loyalty to the people of the Commonwealth. The people who are tired of the hyper-partisanship of both parties.”
House Republican leaders released a statement celebrating Rozzi as “Pennsylvania’s first Independent Speaker of the House.”
However, according to CBS News, Democrats say Rozzi will not switch his registration to independent.
If Rozzi officially becomes an Independent, the House makeup will be 101 Republicans, 98 Democrats, and one Independent. (However, three upcoming elections for vacated seats are expected to go to Democrats.)
Cutler, who served as Speaker of the House from 2020-2022, is now the new Republican House leader.