Write-in Candidate Elected to Pennsylvania State Senate in Special Election

On March 18, Pennsylvania held a special election to fill the vacant State Senate seat, 28th district. In special elections in Pennsylvania, qualified parties nominate by party meeting; there is no primary. The Republican Party chose Ron Miller, the state representative in the area who had served eight terms. The Democratic Party nominated Linda Small. Scott Wagner, who is a registered Republican but who was not chosen by his party, then launched a write-in campaign, and has been elected. The district is centered on York County.

This is the first time someone has been elected to the Pennsylvania legislature who was not a major party nominee since 1934, when the Socialist Party elected two state representatives.

The preliminary election returns are: Ron Miller 5,920; Linda Small 5,704; total number of write-ins 10,595. Election officials have not canvassed the write-ins yet, but because Wagner was the only person campaigning as a write-in candidate, it is assumed that the overwhelming majority of those write-ins are for Wagner. Pennsylvania does not have a procedure for a write-in candidate to file a declaration of candidacy, and all write-in votes are legally valid if they are for individuals who meet the legal qualifications for the office. This story explains the issues that Wagner ran on. He denounced Pennsylvania’s legislative pensions and highlighted one particular retired state legislator who receives a pension of $286,000 per year.

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