State Rep.'s Widow May Seek His Seat In Special Election

Maria Donatucci, the widow of state Rep. Robert Donatucci, is thinking about running for his seat in a special election, according to his brother, Philadelphia Register of Wills Ron Donatucci.  Robert Donatucci, 58, died in his sleep last Monday, apparently from complications due to sleep apnea.  Ron Donatucci, leader of Southwest Philadelphia's 26th Ward, said his Democratic committee members want Maria Donatucci to run.

"At this stage, we're still grieving," Donatucci said. "She's sharp. She's been around. She knows the job. I think it would be a nice tribute for my brother if she served out his term."

Robert Donatucci was a 30-year veteran of the state House's 185th District, which stretches from Broad Street and Passyunk Avenue southeast into Delaware County's Darby Township.  He was re-elected in the Nov. 2 general election by a margin of 5-to-1.

Maria Donatucci has worked for the city's Bureau of Administrative Adjudication since 1997. 

State law calls for the speaker of the state House to issue a writ within 10 days of a vacancy for special election to be held at least 60 days after that.  Speaker Keith McCall has until Nov. 30, the end of the legislative term, to issue that writ. If he does not act, the Republicans will do so after Dec. 1 since they took control of the House in the Nov. 2 election.