Gov. Tom Wolf (D) set March 13 as the special election to replace former Rep. Tim Murphy (R), who resigned on Oct. 21.
Democrats announced Monday they will hold a convention to choose their nominee on Nov. 19. The convention will “recommend a congressional candidate to the Pennsylvania Democratic Executive Committee,” which “will then promptly consider the recommendation of the convention and submit the Democratic nominee to the Department of State.” (release)
“Marcel Groen, the party’s chairman, expects more than 500 committee people to participate in the November convention. … The state Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment. … The person elected in March will serve through the end of the current term. Separate primary and general elections to pick a congressman to serve from January 2019 through January 2021 will be held next year.” (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
“The only restriction on Mr. Wolf was that he couldn’t choose a date less than 60 days in the future, and some observers expected the governor to schedule the special election so it coincided with next year’s May 15 primary. Republicans were quick to question the timing” set by a Democrat.
“’I think the governor should have set it for the primary,’ said Mark Harris, a political consultant working for the campaign of state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler (R). … Harris speculated that Mr. Wolf, a Democrat, timed the race to benefit his party, for whom winning the 18th district seat would be a major coup. ‘Wacky things can happen in a special, and if we look at special elections across the country, the party that is out of power tends to turn out at a higher rate.’”
“On the Republican side, the conferees who select the nominee are allocated among the four counties based on the Republican turnout for President Donald Trump last year. That gives Westmoreland 80 votes, Allegheny County 79, Washington County 50, and Greene County 6. The rules for selecting conferees vary by county: Republican Committee of Allegheny County chair D. Raja said Monday he was sharing responsibility for choosing a delegation with local party chairs.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)