A Blair County legislator's press conference in York Monday ended after shouted rebuttals and accusations from a couple of people watching on the steps of the York County Administrative Center.

Rep. John McGinnis, R-Blair County, called the conference to draw attention to controversy surrounding the March 18 special election to fill Mike Waugh's vacant 28th state Senate seat. McGinnis said the timing of Waugh's resignation and the call for the special election make it "impossible for a rational person to conclude anything else except an orchestrated effort to stop Mr. Scott Wagner from a likely primary victory in May."

Penn Waste owner Scott Wagner was among the Republicans who had applied to the local Republican committee to be nominated for the special election, but he withdrew his name from consideration; he said it was pointless because of the "backroom deal" to which McGinnis made reference.

The Republican committee later chose Rep. Ron Miller, R-Jacobus, to appear on the ballot, and Wagner launched a write-in campaign.

McGinnis said Monday there is no need for the special election, estimated to cost about $200,000, except to install Miller into the office and give him the advantage of incumbency before voters again cast ballots in the May 20 primary.

He said voters can "say no to this type of impropriety" by writing in Wagner's name next Tuesday.


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McGinnis said he had also been, before his election in 2012, the subject of a similar Republican-on-Republican plot.

McGinnis is secretary of the House State Government Committee, which hears testimony on government-related issues, but he said he isn't aware of any plans the committee has to investigate the allegations of impropriety by Republican leadership.

Among the handful of people who attended the conference were a man who questioned McGinnis about his campaign signs and another who called McGinnis "just a hack...a political prostitute" for Wagner because Wagner contributed to his campaign.

Peter Schnabel of Shrewsbury said Wagner's campaign started attacking the Republican establishment even before Waugh resigned, and he told McGinnis to return from where he came.

McGinnis said he had appreciated Wagner's campaign support, but such was not the motivation for his trip to York.

Also attending the press conference was Republican York County Commissioner Chris Reilly, who has spoken against the special election and encouraged state lawmakers not to hold it because of its expensive and hurried nature.

- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.