Pippy's Senate Seat Could Remain Empty
Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley will decide whether or not to hold a special election to fill the last few months of John Pippy's term.
According to state law, if a Senate vacancy happens fewer than seven months before the expiration of that seat's term, Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley will have 10 days to decide if there should be a special election or if the seat should remain empty.
Pippy (R-Moon Township), whose 37th District included all of Whitehall Borough, resigned from his Senate seat on July 1 after voting on this year's state budget. However, his district and its capital staff members are expected to remain intact to assist constituents.
With fewer than six months until Pippy's term expires, Cawley will have to decide if a special election is "in the public interest," according to state law.
Matthew Keeler, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said that Cawley will issue a writ of vacancy, but it's not yet known what the lieutenant governor will officially decide.
State Sen. Jay Costa, (D-43rd Senatorial District, including all of Baldwin Borough), wrote in a letter on Monday that "(h)olding an election a month or so before a regular election at a significant cost to the taxpayer is not 'in the public interest,'" according to PoliticsPA.
Meanwhile, there are questions regarding which Democrat will face Republican D. Raja in November's general election to fill Pippy's seat. Greg Parks was expected to run against Raja, but Parks dropped out of the race this past week, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Smith did not return a call to his cellphone on Monday.
UPDATE: Smith said that he is still deciding whether or not to run and would not rule out challenging Raja in the general election.
"People in the community, Democrats and Republicans alike, have approached me about running for state Senate," Smith said in a text message to the ChartiersValley Patch. "I am flattered and appreciative of the support. I will talk with my family and will make a decision after considering it with them."
This article originally appeared on the ChartiersValley Patch.
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