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Sources: Waugh to Resign, Triggering Special Election

Sen. Waugh
Sen. Waugh

Mike Waugh (R-York) announced in August that he would not seek a fourth term in the state Senate.

But four Republican sources told PoliticsPA that Waugh plans to announce his resignation this week, effective Monday. It will trigger a special election that gives party officials an edge in choosing his replacement.

“It’s set to happen this week. His resignation letter is already written,” said one Republican.

Waugh was unavailable to comment. He has suffered from cancer in the past and cited illness in his August announcement.

The 28th district is a safe seat for the GOP. The bigger schism is within the Republican party, where many view the primary as a proxy battle between state Senate leadership, including Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-Delaware), and conservatives.

Conservative businessman Scott Wagner declared his candidacy in September. Last week, he announced that he has raised $268,000 to date.

Wagner is independently wealthy and has been a major donor to conservative candidates and causes. He has frequently criticized GOP leadership in Harrisburg and said he would not support Pileggi for GOP Majority Leader.

He also advertises on PoliticsPA.

Though no other candidate has emerged to run, most expect state Rep. Ron Miller (R-York) to be the establishment Republican candidate.

PoliticsPA is seeking comment from Miller.

In a special election, nominees are not chosen in a primary vote. Instead, the winner is selected by county committee members and approved by the state GOP. In York County, conservative activists and party leadership have been at odds for years. It is very likely that the party would nominate Miller.

York County GOP Chairman Bob Wilson declined to speculate.

“The Senator is still the Senator,” Wilson said. “So all of this talk of a special election is very premature.”

Several sources said Senate Republicans sought unsuccessfully to recruit Pa. Department of Welfare Secretary Beverly Mackereth into the race. Several SD-28 Republicans received a poll call testing her and Miller against Wagner.

Wagner said he, too, had heard rumors of Waugh’s impending retirement.

“This is another backroom deal. The kind of thing that has been going on far too long in Harrisburg,” he said. He attributed Waugh’s decision in part to a maneuver by Pileggi.

PoliticsPA is seeking comment from Pileggi.

Another Republican confirmed the retirement news, but said it had little to do with the primary.

“It’s possible to read more into these things than there is,” he said. “I think [Sen. Waugh] is retiring for personal reasons. If they schedule a special election, it’s more likely that they want to have that 27th Republican vote there in time for budget season.”

Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley has 10 days after any vacancy to choose the date of a special election, which must not be within 60 days. If Waugh retires effective Monday, as Republican sources confirmed to PoliticsPA, the election could occur before the May 20 primary. The winner would fill the remainder of Waugh’s term.

The 2014 primary would proceed as normal, and the winner of the general election would take office in January 2015.

Wagner said he would continue his bid in the regular primary even in the event of a special election. He said he would not run as an independent in the special election because such a bid would require him to change his party registration.

16 Responses

  1. lMaybe Bob Guzzardi should take time to educate himself before posting comments. There were atleast two members of the York republican delegan thon the transportation bill. Those members being Mike Regan and keith gillespie

  2. “IF” this is true it shows a Disrespect and Contempt for the voters of Pennsylvania.
    Dirty/nasty back room politics at its worst. Again if true why would Sen Waugh drag his reputation and name through this muck.
    We thought the games played with HB76 was bad! This stinks to high heaven!
    Such greed and corruption!

  3. Bob Guzzardi is an idiot. Plus Wagner has started propaganda emails trying to rally someone. These guys are nuts.

  4. Brad is correct, many stores are updated after readers report errors. It happens. I reported several errors myself yesterday. All those errors have since been corrected.

  5. Scott Wagner will represent the interests of The Forgotten Taxpayer who has to pay for all the government programs enacted by Democrats and their complicit enablers, Republican Leadeship who vote to spend more and tax more as they did, recently, with Corbett’s Gas Tax Act 89 of 2014.

    Ever escalating costs of government are sucking the economic lifeblood. Pennsylvania is headed in the direction of Democratic governed Philadelphia.

    Jobs report has Philadelphia looking a lot like Detroit Business Journal 9 January 2014 Natalie Kostelni

  6. @Mark — Perhaps you should learn about editing a website. Apparently you don’t know that PoliticsPA frequently edits its articles after the errors are noted by readers. That is what happened here. The original article was incorrect and read exactly as I quoted. That is what quotation marks (or “) mean.

  7. On wagner. – it is impotant to have at least one strong on principles member in each chamber. That serves as a check & balance and assures that we know what the good old boys Re up to. The House has several. Without a Wagner the Senate has been able to block both pension reform & liquor reform but fool the public into believing they are for the very reform they block. The Senate record is no reform but the 2nd highestest tax increase in PA history 28 cents per gallon on gas higher than California.

  8. They pulled this stunt here in Montgomery County and its why I left the Republican Party for good. Mr. Corbett, any slim chance you had of getting my vote just flew out with the window with your ultrasound legislation.

  9. Bob, in other words, Wagner will never compromise and work with his fellow Republicans to achieve long-term goals. Wagner is all about Wagner, and not what’s good for the people. People like you and Wagner imagine these smoke-filled rooms where conspiracies are hatched, and that’s why the voters reject you tinfoil-hat-wearing crazies.

  10. Scott Wagner cannot be controlled. Scott Wagner is independent of party leadership and an outsider. Scott Wagner is a nightmare for the the leadership of both parties. Every member of House and Senate York and Lancaster delegations voted Yea for Corbett’s Tax Increase. All are controlled by leadership. Time for an fiscally competent independent outsider.

  11. I am changing my registration to independent. I am sick of all these games. Why can’t the voters choose instead of all these back room deals among insiders

  12. There IS another candidate running for the 28th senatorial district. Read your own story published today:

    SD-28: Zachary Hearn will seek the Republican nomination for the 28th senatorial district. He is the deputy director for claims for The American Legion in Washington, D.C. Hearn resides with his wife Tracey in Windsor Township. He is a member of Red Lion American Legion Post 543 and is a life member of the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 8951 in West York.

    “With the same passion and energy that I have provided as an advocate for millions of America’s veterans and their families, I will bring to Harrisburg to advocate for policies that encourage private sector growth, job creation, pension reform, and a focus on Pennsylvania schools to ensure that the next generation of Pennsylvanians are provided with the necessary skills to succeed in a global economy,” said Hearn.

    Incumbent Sen. Mike Waugh (R-York) is retiring at the end of this term.

  13. Wrong again, PoliticsPA. It is absolutely incorrect to claim the special election “must be within 60 days,” as you claim. A special election for a Senate vacancy must be called by the Senate President (i.e., Lieutenant Governor) within 10 days of the vacancy and the special election date must occur at least 60 days later but also no later than the next regularly scheduled election (here, the primary election).

    Contrary to your reporting, a special election could not occur “within 60 days,” let alone “must be within 60 days.” Again, please check your facts and be sure they are correct BEFORE writing the article.

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