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Democrats and Republicans Line Up to Replace Earll in the 49th

By Danielle Ardner, Contributing Writer

As expected, Democrats and Republicans are already lining up for what will surely be a competitive race to replace Jane Earll in Pennsylvania’s 49th Senatorial District.

Democratic hopefuls plan to officially announce their plans this week.

Among them is Sean Wiley, the Director of Foundation at St. Vincent Health System. Wiley, who also serves as Director of Governmental Affairs and Advocacy at St. Vincent, was formerly employed as a staffer for Erie County Executive Mark Divecchio.  

“Erie needs a tested advocate in the Senate with a history of working for our communities, and I am ready, willing, and able to be that advocate,” Wiley said in a press release from the PA Senate Democratic Campaign Committee.

Sources with knowledge of the race say Wiley has the blessing of current Erie County Executive Barry Grossman, who challenged and beat Divecchio in the 2009 Democratic primary.

Wiley said he believes “we need to bring jobs back to our region, provide our next generation with a top-tier education, and protect our natural resources – and the only way we will get there is with an unprecedented level of cooperation with all of our elected officials and community leaders.”

State Senator Daylin Leach, the chairman  of the PA Senate Democratic Campaign Committee, has publicly praised Wiley. “Sean is a top-tier candidate with real experience working for the people of Erie. Our Commonwealth is at a tipping point and Erie needs someone like Sean who won’t be afraid to make tough decisions and get our state back on track,” he said.

All Aboard Erie executive director Brian Pitzer is also considering a run.  Pitzer has been involved in the area of higher education throughout his career, serving as Director of Public Relations at Edinboro University and Chicago State University.  He also has ties to the University of Pittsburgh.

Terry Scutella has officially announced his bid for the 49th District seat, according to WICU12 of Erie. Scutella is the Millcreek School Director. His 11 years of experience on the school board, he believes, will aid him in this election.

WICU12 quoted Scutella as saying, “Public education is big to me. And I just believe we have to find something that takes the burden off the taxpayer.”

On the GOP side, Janet Anderson, a former Earll staffer currently serving as Executive Director of the Northwest Regional Planning and Development Commission, is expected to vie for the seat.

Jason Owen — an attorney, the former Executive Director of the Erie County Republican Party, and a previous candidate for the 3rd Congressional District in PA in 2008 — is also rumored to be mulling a run.

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