State Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) is proposing a way to reduce the number and expense of state special elections in one fell swoop.
He is planning to introduce legislation that requires candidates to run for just one elected office at a time.
Diamond noted in his co-sponsorship memoranda that in 2022, Rep. Summer Lee (D-12) and Lt. Gov. Austin Davis ran not only for higher office, but also to keep their state House seats should the general election not go their way.
That led to a special election in February in the 34th and 35th Districts which were won by Abigail Salisbury and Matthew Gergely, respectively. And due to the fact that the House majority rested in the balance, the chamber was not organized for two months with little or no business able to be conducted.
Diamond did note the irony of the proposed legislation coming from the Lebanon Republican.
“In full disclosure, I have appeared on the ballot for more than one public office twice – in the 2004 general election and the 2022 primary election,” he wrote. “While assuming the role of candidate, there seemed to be nothing wrong with the practice. I was wrong about that. As witnessed earlier this year, a successful run for two different offices can not only leave certain constituencies without representation, but can also contribute to chaos in governance.”
His proposal would require candidates to affirm that they have not submitted paperwork to file for ballot access for another public office when submitting their nomination petitions. He hopes that this would prevent individuals from “testing the waters, seeking public or party support, or even circulating petitions for more than one public office. The critical decision point will only come when petition filing deadlines arrive.”
This legislation is targeted at state House and Senate, as the memoranda reads that it “will still allow those seeking public office to simultaneously seek state or county party offices.
In a Commonwealth of 13 million people, there are plenty of qualified individuals to fill every slot on the ballot without needing certain individuals to “double up” for multiple offices.”