By Alex Roarty
PoliticsPA Staff Writer
State Sen. John Wozniak said Wednesday he would not seek to replace the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha as congressman in the 12th Congressional District, citing the opportunity he has to become a leader in the state Senate Democratic Caucus.
Wozniak was immediately seen as one of the most likely candidates to run for the seat, and his departure helps clear the path for one of the candidates who’s already decided to run, former state Treasurer Barbara Hafer.
Former Lieutenant Governor Mark Singel and Westmoreland County Commissioner Tom Ceraso are also said to be considering a run. Ryan Bucchianeri, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, was challenging Murtha in the primary and is still seeking the party’s nomination.
Murtha’s widow, Joyce, is also rumored as a possible candidate, and her decision to run would likely clear the Democratic field.
The 12th District would suffer further if it also lost a senior member member of state Senate caucus, he said.
“With three very senior members of the state Senate Democratic Caucus retiring at year’s end, I will be in an even better position to fight for jobs and more help for our region” Wozniak said in a statement. “We all need to pull together and fill the leadership vacuum that’s been created as result of Jack’s death.