Ron Miller served York County honorably in the state House for 15 years. This week the Jacobus Republican ended his political career in the same fashion.
Following a drubbing by write-in GOP candidate Scott Wagner in last week's special election to temporarily fill the vacant 28th Senate District seat, Miller dropped his primary bid for a full four-year term.
Miller's withdrawal leaves Wagner and political newcomer Zack Hearn on the primary ballot as Republicans and Linda Small as the sole Democrat seeking nominations for the 28th.
Miller was elected to serve in the 93rd House District in 1998 and has held the seat since. But he did not file a petition to get on the primary ballot for the House, and he said he doesn't intend to launch a write-in campaign.
When his term is up at the end of the year, he's done.
One could say Miller simply saw the writing on the wall.
Wagner didn't just beat Miller, the local GOP committee's chosen nominee for the special election — the tea party-backed upstart annihilated him by a 21 percent margin.
It was a history-making win for Wagner, who became the first person to win a Pennsylvania state Senate seat with a write-in campaign.
The campaign was remarkable for other reasons, as well: It was the most expensive Senate race ever run in York County, and those funds bought an unprecedented amount of advertising – much of it personal and ugly.
Many voters we talked to were disgusted by the tone, which Miller acknowledged in announcing his decision to withdraw from the primary.
"I don't see the tone of the race changing a whole lot," he said. "It's not good for York County, and I don't want to see us go through it."
We couldn't agree more. People around here want to focus on issues and solutions — not name-calling and mud-slinging.
Miller made the right decision, for the right reason.
But while we appreciate the move, we can't ignore the fact Miller's supporters were among the most negative campaigners.
Miller said he didn't pay for those advertising spots ... but he didn't condemn them either.
He should have.
The Associated Press last week noted York County's potential as a power player in Pennsylvania politics — from former York City state Rep. Eugene DePasquale's election to state auditor general, to local businessman Tom Wolf's current status as the Democratic front-runner in the governor's race, to Wagner's historic upset.
If the eyes of the Keystone State are indeed soon to turn our way, we might want to spend more time considering the image we project — of ourselves and our elected officials.