State Sen. Edwin “Ted” Erickson will not seek re-election in 2014, leaving open his seat in the Philadelphia suburbs.
A spokesman for the Delaware County Republican confirmed his decision to retire; Erickson has not yet issued a statement.
Update: Erickson issued the following statement. He did not cite a specific reason behind his decision.
“I’m grateful to the residents of the 26th Senatorial District for the confidence and trust that they placed in me by electing me to the Senate during my tenure, and I thank them for that trust. It has been an honor and a privilege to represent them in the Senate.”
Insiders had speculated about whether Erickson, 74, would seek another term.
A veteran of Delaware County government – he served on Council and later its Executive Director – Erickson came to office in a 2001 special election. He was re-elected by 26 points in 2002 and 17 points in 2010. 2006 was his closest race, which he won by 5 points.
His announcement sets up an open seat battle in a competitive district, albeit one that favors Republicans for the state legislature.
The 26th Senate district comprises parts of Delaware and Chester counties and was made slightly more Republican in the latest round of redistricting. Its party registration is 49.5% Republican, 39.4% Democratic. But in 2012 – along the lines that will be used in 2014 – it went 56% for Barack Obama and Kathleen Kane, and 58% for Sen. Bob Casey.
Republican insiders have already begun looking at possible replacements, including state Rep. Nick Miccarelli and County Councilman Tom McGarrigle.
Miccarelli, 31, was elected to the state House from Ridley Park in 2008. He served two tours of duty with the U.S. Army in Iraq.
McGarrigle, 54, was elected to County Council in 2007 and is presently its Chairman. He owns and manages an automotive service station in Springfield.
Update 3: Another GOP name is Marianne Grace, 62, Delaware County’s Executive Director. She joined County government in 1998 after managing a drug and alcohol treatment center.
The Delaware County GOP is one of the most effective local parties in the state and they rarely lose local elections. Likewise, a competitive primary fight is unlikely.
Democrats already have a declared candidate: John Kane, 53, the business manager of the Plumbers Union Local 690 which serves the Philadelphia region.
Update 2: Kane issued a statement on Erickson’s announcement:
“The departure of Senator Erickson signals an opportunity for us to change the direction of discussion in our district. Now is the time to start talking about issues that matter in our community: properly funding our school, creating jobs, and protecting women’s access to health care. This is why I am running to replace Senator Erickson in the state Senate.”
Aren Platt, the Executive Director of the state Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, said Erickson’s district was one of its 6 targets even before the retirement announcement.
Republicans have a 27 to 23 majority in the State Senate at present, meaning Democrats would have to win 3 seats to gain the majority (or 2 seats plus the Governor’s mansion).
Erickson’s retirement was first noted in the “Harrisburg Online” daily email produced by Greenlee Partners, LLC.
State Sens. Mike Brubaker (R-Lancaster) and Mike Waugh (R-York) have also announced plans to retire from the state Senate after 2014; their districts are safely Republican.