A running list of candidates vying for former state Sen. Mike Folmer’s seat

By: and - October 7, 2019 12:47 pm

The Pennsylvania Capitol building (Capital-Star photo).

Updated, Oct. 8

A sitting state representative, a district attorney, and the former leader of a conservative think-tank — these are just some of the candidates who hope to succeed former state Sen. Mike Folmer.

Voters in the 48th Senate district, which includes all of Lebanon and parts of Dauphin and York counties, will choose Folmer’s replacement in a special election on Tuesday, Jan. 14. 

Folmer, a Republican, resigned from the Senate in September after he was charged with possession of child pornography. 

Republican conferees from Lebanon, Dauphin, and York counties will choose their nominee at a special meeting on Saturday, Oct. 19. Democratic electors will hold their nomination meeting on Sunday, Oct. 20.

At least 14 people have announced their candidacies. Here’s a brief rundown. 

Are we missing a candidate? Email us: [email protected]


Who: Lebanon County District Attorney David Arnold
Why: The top law enforcement officer in Folmer’s home county touts himself as a “consistent conservative” and “outsider to state government.” He said constituents could count on to restrict abortion access, protect firearm rights, and oppose tax increases, PennLive reported.

“I will go to the state Capitol with a purpose and fresh perspective on many issues, especially ensuring the public safety of our communities,” Arnold said in a press release.

Who: Bill Bering Jr., a real estate business owner.
Why: In a statement to the Lebanon Daily News, Bering said he is “a strong advocate for getting people from the private sector involved in government. I also understand the needs and concerns of young families.”

Who: Matthew J. Brouillette, president and CEO of Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs. He previously led the Harrisburg-based Commonwealth Foundation, a statewide conservative think-tank.
Why: In a statement announcing his candidacy, Brouillette said he’s running “because the people of the 48th District deserve a strong conservative voice who is ready to take on the tough policy battles that lie ahead, to go on offense against those who destroy our American way of life, and to fight relentlessly to advance educational and economic opportunity for all Pennsylvanians.”

Who: Nathan Brightbill, a business owner
Why: The Pennsylvania GOP announced his candidacy.

Who: Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon, first elected to the state House in 2014.
Why: Diamond, who represents part of Lebanon County, believes he is “the most qualified and logical choice” to fill Folmer’s seat, according to a statement.

He rose to prominence as the founder of PACleanSweep, created after lawmakers voted in a secret, midnight session to give themselves a pay raise. As a member of the House, Diamond has sponsored legislation to amend the state’s Constitution to change the way voters elect appellate court judges, and to restore industrial hemp production in Pennsylvania. 

Who: Charlie Greenawalt, a Millersville University professor.
Why: The Lebanon Daily News reported his candidacy. 

Who: Jack Hamlett, a community activist
Why: The Pennsylvania GOP announced his candidacy.

Who: Randy Hoffman, former member of Lebanon City Council.
Why: Hoffman told the Lebanon Daily News “the path the commonwealth is on financially is just unsustainable.”

Who: Stephen Roth, Steelton Highspire School District teacher
Why: The Pennsylvania GOP announced his candidacy.

Who: Tom Ryan, former businessman.
Why: He told the York Dispatch, “Now that I’m retired and continue my work with the National Federation of Independent Business, it has increased my interest in becoming more active locally.”

Who: Paul Vranesic, a nursing home administrator.
Why: PennLive reported his candidacy. 


Who: Matt Duvall, a former high school teacher who currently works in autism support.
Why: He told LebTown, a local news website, he would support “strong unions as a necessary part of a prosperous economy, raising the minimum wage, high quality public education, broadband internet access for all, and harnessing technology to promote the general public good.”

Who: David Lloyd, West Cornwall township supervisor and CEO of Ephrata Area Rehab Services.
Why: Lloyd said in a press release “he would focus on tax reform, human services, road and bridge repairs, the environment and workforce development. He also cited gun reform as a top priority, including extreme risk protection orders,” PennLive reported. 

Who: Michael Schroeder, an associate professor at Lebanon Valley College and environmental advocate.
Why: He told WITF-FM in a statement he believes “the state government needs to play a far more proactive role in helping communities mitigate and adapt to the worsening effects of global climate disruption.”

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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.

Sarah Anne Hughes
Sarah Anne Hughes

Associate Editor Sarah Anne Hughes covers the governor and Pennsylvania's agencies. Before joining the Capital-Star, she was the state capitol reporter for Billy Penn and The Incline, and a 2018 corps member for Report for America. She was previously managing editor of Washington City Paper, editor-in-chief of DCist, and a national blogger for The Washington Post.