State Rep. Russ Diamond (R-Lebanon) announced on Wednesday that he is seeking the Republican nomination for the open seat in the state’s 48th Senatorial District.
State Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) resigned from office on Sept. 18 after Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that Folmer was charged with possession of child pornography. Folmer represented the district since 2007.
In a release announcing his bid for the seat, Diamond said the district needed someone who “knows his way around the legislative process” and called himself the “most qualified and logical choice” to fill the vacancy.
“The people of the 48th District deserve a Senator who knows his way around the legislative process, has existing relationships with current senators, can provide a smooth transition, and has an established record of standing up for Republican values,” Diamond said in a statement.
Diamond’s release continued to say how important it is for the next state Senator to be a “steady and experienced hand” and promised to be transparent in the state Senate.
“Our entire community was stunned by the circumstances that created this vacancy,” Diamond said. “As we move forward, we’ll need the steady and experienced hand of someone close to the people who can hit the ground running, help bring the community together, and work for a better Pennsylvania. If elected to the Senate, I will remain as accessible, transparent, and accountable as I’ve always been in the House of Representatives.”
Diamond, currently serving his third term in the state House, was first elected to represent the 102nd district in 2014. He ran unopposed in the most recent election. He currently serves on the Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Gaming Oversight, Finance, and State Government Committees. The release about his announcement touts his work on “returning industrial hemp to production” in the state, advocating for welfare reform, and HB196 that changes the way Pennsylvania elects appellate court judges.
Diamond is the second Republican, joining Matthew J. Brouilette, president and CEO of Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs, to formally announce his intentions for the seat, although several others in the party are mulling a run as well, according to PennLive.
Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold, Lebanon County real estate agent and auctioneer Bill Bering Jr., and state House policy analyst Greg Moreland have all expressed interest in the seat, PennLive reports. Multiple Democrats have also expressed interest in the seat, but those names are not yet public.
Folmer, who served as chair of the Senate’s State Government Committee, won his most recent reelection bid in 2018 by 25 points over Democrat Lois Herr.
The 48th Senatorial District seat encompasses Lebanon and parts of Dauphin and York Counties. The special election date for the seat is Jan. 14.
The Pennsylvania Republican Party will choose their nominee for the seat on Saturday, October 19 at a conferee meeting at Lebanon Valley College. The date of the Democratic conferee meeting is currently unknown.