The Lead

Special elections to fill vacant House, Senate seats to take place May 18

By: - January 25, 2021 5:56 pm

Sen. Dave Arnold, R-Lebanon, takes the oath of office on Jan. 29. Arnold died at age 49 on Jan. 17, 2021. Source: PA State Senate.

Two state lawmakers who succumbed to illnesses this month will be replaced in special elections on May 18, the same day as Pennsylvania’s spring primary. 

Lt. Gov. John Fetterman signed the writ of elections on Monday to convene a special election that day in the state’s 48th Senate District, PennLive reported

That seat has been empty since former Sen. Dave Arnold, R-Lebanon, died of brain cancer on Jan. 17. He was 49 years old. 

The winner will serve the remainder of Arnold’s term, which expires in 2022. 

Leaders in the state House already have scheduled a special election on May 18 to replace former state Rep. Mike Reese, R-Westmoreland, who died of a brain aneurysm on Jan. 2 at age 42. 

The May 18 election date will give local party delegates four months to choose nominees for each race.

According to PennLive, four GOP candidates have already expressed interest in seeking their party’s nomination to run in Arnold’s district, which leans heavily Republican and spans Lebanon and parts of York and Dauphin counties. 

The race to choose Arnold’s successor will be the second special election in less than two years in the 48th District. 

Arnold was diagnosed with brain cancer in fall 2019 while campaigning in the special election that took place there Jan. 14, 2020. 

He easily defeated a Democratic opponent to replace former state Sen. Mike Folmer, who was arrested and resigned in Sept. 2019 on charges of possessing child pornography. 

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Elizabeth Hardison
Elizabeth Hardison

Elizabeth Hardison covered education policy, election administration, criminal justice and legislative news for the Capital-Star from Jan. 2019-April 2021. You can find her on Twitter @ElizHardison.