Pa. GOP Senate leader Corman to serve as Lt. Gov, while Fetterman recovers

By: - May 17, 2022 6:43 pm

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, will step in to cover for Lt. Gov. John Fetterman while the Democrat recovers from a stroke he suffered last week.

Under state law, the Senate president pro tempore steps in whenever the lieutenant governor is unable to discharge their duties.

In a statement, Gov. Tom Wolf’s office said “a declaration was sent from a majority of ​designated cabinet secretaries and the President Pro Tempore to the General Assembly stating that the lieutenant governor is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. The declaration was sent [Tuesday] afternoon after the governor was informed that the lieutenant governor was going to undergo a standard procedure.”

Fetterman, 52, was set to receive a pacemaker as part of his treatment.

In a statement it released Tuesday afternoon, Fetterman’s Senate campaign said the procedure should “help protect his heart and address the underlying cause of his stroke, atrial fibrillation, by regulating his heart rate and rhythm,” the Capital-Star previously reported.

The procedure came as Pennsylvania voters cast their ballots in Tuesday’s primary election. Fetterman has consistently led in polls leading up to the election. Earlier this week, his campaign said Fetterman would not be in attendance at an election party Tuesday night.

“We continue to wish the lieutenant governor the very best as he continues to focus on his health and recovery. However, as the lieutenant governor undergoes a standard procedure, there is a process in place to ensure that our government remains fully operational,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in the administration’s statement. “This is a short-term transfer of power, and we hope and expect the lieutenant governor to resume his duties very soon.”

Under state law,  Fetterman “may return to his powers and duties four days after a written declaration is sent by his office to the General Assembly noting that no disability exists,” the administration said in a statement.

Previous Senate presidents pro tempore, the 50-member chamber’s presiding officer, have twice stepped in to serve as lieutenant governor in recent years.

Former Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer, R-Blair, served as lieutenant governor from 2001 to 2003, when former Gov. Tom Ridge resigned to become President George W. Bush’s first homeland security director. In that case, Lt. Gov. Mark Schweiker moved up to serve out the unexpired portion of Ridge’s second, and final, term.

In 2008, former Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, stepped into the No. 2 spot with the death of former Democratic Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll. He held the post until the end of the former Rendell administration in 2011.

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John L. Micek
John L. Micek

A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press.