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Thursday, February 17, 2005

Arlen Specter & Special Election Scenarios

Posted by Tim Tagaris

By now, most of us have heard the unfortunate news that Arlen Specter has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease and will undergo treatment with chemotherapy. I gotta say, this was one of the more inspirational quotes I have read in some time; from Specter:

"I have beaten a brain tumor, bypass surgery and many tough political opponents, and I'm going to beat this, too"

...and we hope he does. However, many have asked what happens should Specter resign, or tragically, worse? From the Pennsylvania Election Code:

§ 2776. Special elections for United States Senator; nominations.

Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of United States Senator, said vacancy shall be filled for the unexpired term by the vote of the electors of the State at a special election to be held at the time of the next general or municipal election, occurring at least ninety (90) days after the happening of such vacancy, and it shall be the duty of the Governor to issue writs of election to the various county boards of elections and to the Secretary of the Commonwealth within ten (10) days after the happening of said vacancy.

There is more, but the long and the short of it is this:

If Specter has to leave inside of a 90 day window before the 2005 General Election in PA, then Governor Rendell will appoint a replacement, and there will be an election in November of 2006. In that case, there would be TWO United States Senate elections in that year.

If Specter has to leave office 91 days or more before the 2005 election in PA, the Governor would once again appoint a replacement until the November 2005 elections in PA. In that election, the Democrat appointed (presumably) would have to "defend" his/her seat against a candidate appointed by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.

In both cases, 2005 & 2006 special elections, there is no primary for either party. The nominees for the seat are appointed by each of the state party aparatuses. Whoever were to win that election, would serve until Specter would have been up for re-election--2010.

Hope I got it right, and I hope it helps.

Posted at 11:50 AM in Pennsylvania | Technorati


Thanks for the update Tim. I would think we are all hoping for the best in reagards to Mr. Specter, but it still presents some interesting problems/variables for the coming year.

Posted by: JDF [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 18, 2005 03:42 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment