The Murtha special election…

…Will take place on Primary Day, May 18th.

The official release from Governor Rendell’s office is below.


Harrisburg -Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced that a special election to fill the unexpired term of U.S. Rep. John Murtha will be held simultaneously with the May 18 primary election.

Scheduling the special election to coincide with the primary will save taxpayers money, the Governor said. If the special election was to be held separately, it would cost counties in the 12th U.S. House District an estimated $683,000.

“At a time when all governments are trying to meet their challenges with reduced revenues, it would be unconscionable to force counties to spend money to hold an additional election which, by law, could be held little more than 30 days earlier,” the Governor said.

Governor Rendell alerted voters that there will be two elections related to the 12th District seat on primary day, and that they need to cast votes in both. The first will be the special election pitting a Democrat against a Republican to serve out the rest of Rep. Murtha’s term, which ends in early January 2011. The second will be the party primaries to nominate candidates to run in the November general election, through which voters will elect a U.S. Representative to a two-year term that begins next January. Those primaries could have multiple candidates.

Rep. Murtha, of Johnstown, died Feb. 8 at the age of 77, following a 36-year career in the U.S. House.

Under the U.S. Constitution, the governor must issue a writ of election. Pennsylvania’s election code requires that the Governor act within 10 days to set the election date, and that the date must not be sooner than 60 after he issues the writ of election. Certified political parties will select candidates for the special election according to party rules.

The 12th District comprises all of Greene County and parts of eight other counties – Allegheny, Armstrong, Cambria, Fayette, Indiana, Somerset, Washington, and Westmoreland.

About pubradiopolitics
Scott covers state government and politics for Pennsylvania's public radio stations, including WITF in Harrisburg, WHYY in Philadelphia and WDUQ in Pittsburgh.

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