Dead Democrat wins reelection in Pennsylvania (not a joke)

Source: Hot Air

After holding office for more than thirty years, Tony DeLuca was always the odds-on favorite to win another term representing Pennsylvania’s 30th legislative district. The Republicans didn’t even put anyone up to run against him and the Green Party candidate he was facing hadn’t gained any sort of traction. There was just one small fly in the ointment for this race, however. Tony DeLuca died last month after a prolonged battle with lymphoma. But his now noncorporeal status clearly didn’t impact his popularity in the community. The deceased DeLuca easily cruised to victory yesterday. But at the age of 85, he clearly had a good run. (Washington Examiner)

A Pennsylvania man who died earlier this year was reelected to his position as a state representative.

Democrat Tony DeLuca, the longest-running Pennsylvania state representative, at 39 years, died last month at 85 of lymphoma, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Because of his recent death, election authorities were unable to change the ballots, and many voters chose him over Green Party challenger Queonia “Zarah” Livingston, marked by a sizable lead. A special election will be held to choose a proper candidate to take his seat.

We frequently hear reports of dead people voting in all of our major elections, and there will no doubt be some of those stories showing up following yesterday’s races. But it’s far rarer to see them running for office. So how did Tony DeLuca manage to pull off this feat?

As the analysis in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out, there were likely a couple of factors involved. Some people who don’t pay that much attention to local politics or the news were probably unaware that the legislator had passed away and voted for him on a party-line ballot. But his death had generated quite a few local headlines, so some of his supporters surely must have known.

What many of them were likely actually voting for was the opportunity to have a special election. They probably saw that as being preferable to supporting the Green Party candidate. Queonia “Zarah” Livingston had run on a platform promising to promote “environmental justice,” end the war on drugs, and “reduce gun violence.” We’re talking about a fairly rural district, despite the fact that Democrats seem to hold an advantage there. Gun control and drug legalization were not likely to be winning themes.

So the voters in the 30th district will now be left without representation, perhaps for quite a few months. A special election is expected to be called in the spring, but until then, the district will not have a voice in the state legislature.

While this thankfully doesn’t happen all that often, candidates do pass away prior to the election from time to time. Shouldn’t there be a provision in place whereby the Governor or the County Executive or some other official could appoint a placeholder legislator from the same party as the deceased? Now, in addition to being left without representation, the district will have to foot the bill for not only a special election but a special primary as well. It just seems as if there should be a better way to handle situations like this.