Democrats Pick a Candidate?
Representative Michael Barbieri resigned to head up the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health for the Department of Health and Social Services. This has set in motion a special election for sometime in September.
Progress is being made regarding finding a replacement. If you are a Democrat, you may be out of luck if you wanted consideration. Democrats had an emergency special meeting last night to look over hand selected candidates and are rumored to have made a decision. David Bentz, who is a legislative aide for the Democratic House Caucus. He is a University of Delaware graduate who previously worked for Pennsylvania House Democrats. Republicans, who are conducting a more open interview process according to GOP Executive Director John Fluharty, plan to have a decision next week “that everyone can support”.
According to state law, the parties pick special election candidates for a special election which must be held 30 to 45 days from the vacancy. Rep. Barbieri was to resign effective August 3, 3015 though rumors are that he may move it up if Democrats have settled on a candidate which would force an earlier election. Expect his last day to be July 31th which allows a pre-labor day special election if Democrats want it. This maneuver would give Republicans who held the heavily Democratic seat for decades less time to mount a special election challenge where they have been most successful. The Democrats have a super majority on the line for the House in this election. A loss here would mean Democrats lose leverage to raise fees and taxes in both houses of the General Assembly without negotiating with Republicans. Such negotiations this year resulted in some reforms to the bidding and prevailing wage process which will result in state and local taxpayer savings.