Orie, who was convicted in March, will be sentenced on June 4. The sentencing was originally scheduled to take place on Monday but was postponed to allow time to collect letters from supporters asking for judicial leniency.
Following Orie’s resignation, Lt. Gov. Cawley will have ten days to choose a date for an election to fill her senate seat. The special election could take place as soon as late July and can occur no later than the November election date. Candidates, which will likely include former state Sen. Melissa Hart (R) and attorney Dan DeMarco, Orie’s 2010 Democratic opponent, would be chosen by party committees.
Stipulating that Orie’s senate seat will be moved to Monroe County, as most redistricting observers expect, there would most likely be a special election in Allegheny County to fill the remainder of her term, followed by a 2014 election in Monroe.
Based on past precedent, the special election is likely to coincide with the November general election.
Orie’s two-sentence resignation letter, submitted to Senate President Joe Scarnati read, “It has been an honor and a privilege for me to have served in the Senate of Pennsylvania.” Orie now faces the loss of her pension and possible jail time. Prosecutors are also seeking more than $1.3 million to reimburse taxpayers.
The senator’s resignation follows the charges against her sister Judge Joan Orie Melvin on Friday, May 18, who was similarly charged with the misappropriation of taxpayer dollars through the illegal use of government workers in her campaign. Corruption charges against the Orie sisters (Janine Orie also faces charges) have prompted non-profit organizations like Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts to call for an improved process of electing state judges.