Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lt. Gov calls special election to fill vacant Senate seat

The state Senate is wasting no time filling the seat of a York lawmaker who announced his resignation Sunday.

Lt. Gov calls special election to fill vacant Senate seat


The state Senate is wasting no time filling the seat of a York lawmaker who abruptly announced his resignation Sunday.

Lt. Governor Jim Cawley today set  March 18 as the date for a special election to fill the vacancy in the 28th Senatorial District in York County that had been held by Sen. Mike Waugh since 1998.

Waugh, a Republican, had earlier announced he would not seek re-election in November.

Gov. Corbett said Monday that Waugh would be the new executive director of the Pennsylvania Farm Show, raising questions about the appointment of lawmakers to public jobs.

A similar issue arose in 2004, when the state attorney general’s office went to court to stop the appointment of a Democratic state lawmaker who resigned to join the state’s new gambling commission, reports the Associated Press

Commonwealth Court removed the legislator, Jeffrey Coy, from gambling board but said he could be appointed when his state House term expired.

But a spokesman for the Corbett administration told the AP the Farm Show job was different because it is not a "civil office" under Pennsylvania law.

Meanwhile, Cawley said he decided to set the early election date to give citizens of York a voice on upcoming legislation, including pension and liquor system reform.

“With the budget debate about to begin, residents of the city and county of York deserve to be fully represented in the legislature," said Cawley.

The senatorial district has been represented by a Republican for nearly 20 years. After learning Waugh initially would not seek reelection in November, Republican Scott Wagner, who owns a trash hauling business, announced his intention to run in the May primary.

He told the AP he would run in the special election as well. The cost estimate for the special election could run up to $200,000 according to the Department of State, however it may be less. Spokesman Ron Ruman said the agency has the money in the budget to cover the costs.

Ruman said the newly redrawn legislative district maps will be used in the special election.

Republicans hold a 27-23 majority in the Senate.

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About this blog

Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.

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