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Special Election Set For Former Rep. Marino's Seat In U.S. House

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Associated Press

When voters in the 12th Congressional district show up on primary day May 21st, they’ll also be deciding on a seat for the U.S. House.

U.S. Representative Tom Marino, who was reelected in November, stepped down less than a month into the new Congressional session. Pennsylvania will hold a special election to fill the seat as part of the state’s May 21 primaries.

Independent voters in the 12th Congressional district will also be able to vote in the special election.

“Every registered voter, irrespective of party affiliation, is entitled to vote, and should show up and vote,” said Jonathan Marks, commissioner of the Bureau of Commissions, Elections and Legislation.

Marks said there are a number of reasons for holding this election with the primary.

“First and foremost is the cost of holding a stand-alone special election for a representative in Congress — a cost that would be borne by the counties, and in this case, that would be 15 counties,” he said.

Added to that, some counties are in the process of switching to new voting machines and may be using them for the first time for the primaries. Marks said having a special election between now and the primary could create logistical challenges. 

The 12th district runs from the New York state border down to Perry County. It’s considered solidly Republican, and Marino won reelection by a wide margin in November. Marino made the surprise announcement that he was stepping down to take a job in the private sector.

Several people have already said they want to run. The Republican and Democratic parties, along with any Independent candidate that meets the requirements, will need to file the paperwork to choose their nominees 50 days before the special election.

Anne Danahy is a reporter at WPSU. She was a reporter for nearly 12 years at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, where she earned a number of awards for her coverage of issues including the impact of natural gas development on communities.
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