As U.S. Rep. Tom Marino announced that he is resigning to take a new job, the Democrat who ran against Marino in the fall has decided to try again for the seat.
Democrat Marc Friedenberg said he plans to seek his party's nomination. He pointed to many of the same issues.
“People in this district are struggling, struggling to get a job, struggling to get good wages, education for themselves and their children," said Friedenberg, a faculty member in Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology. "And, we have an environment in Washington that is completely dysfunctional. We have a government that’s shut down and a Congressman resigning.”
With the U.S. House’s new term barely underway, Marino's announcement came as a surprise to many. He had won his fifth term in office in the November election.
Marino had come under fire for legislation critics say made it harder for the federal government to stop questionable opioid shipments. He defended the legislation, which received bipartisan support and President Obama signed into law. But, facing criticism, Marino withdrew his name from consideration as Trump’s drug tsar.
Friedenberg said he thinks Marino should have told voters in the November election.
“I have to believe he knew that he wouldn’t be completing the term, and that’s deceptive," Friedenberg said. "That’s information that voters would have wanted to know.”
The 12th district stretches from the New York state border down to Perry County, picking up part of Centre County. While Marino’s resignation means Democrats have another shot at winning the seat and Friedenberg did win Centre County in the election, the district is seen as leaning strongly Republican.
The Democratic and Republican parties will choose their nominees for the seat, and Gov. Tom Wolf will have to schedule a special election. That election has to come at least 60 days from when Wolf issues a writ for a special election. That has to happen within 10 days of when Marino's resignation takes effect, Jan. 23.