Eugene DePasquale, Auditor General Elect, speaks to York County Democrats at the Holiday Inn in West Manchester Township Tuesday.
Eugene DePasquale, Auditor General Elect, speaks to York County Democrats at the Holiday Inn in West Manchester Township Tuesday. (John A. Pavoncello)

Forty minutes after The Associated Press declared him the winner of Pennsylvania's race for auditor general, Eugene DePasquale stepped to a podium at a York County hotel.

He thanked supporters but spoke cautiously. After all, the election of a York County resident to statewide office hasn't happened in six decades, the West Manchester Township resident pointed out.

"We feel good," DePasquale told the crowd at a Democratic party Tuesday night. "The superstitious side of me says you never want to think anything definitively."

But, by the end of the evening, it was clear DePasquale would achieve what no other Yorker has achieved since Gov. George Leader served in the 1950s.

DePasquale will succeed Jack Wagner as the state's next auditor general. Wagner is stepping down after serving the maximum two consecutive terms allowed by law.

Statewide, he grabbed 50 percent of Pennsylvanians' votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting early Wednesday.

John Maher, an Allegheny County Republican, took 46 percent of the vote and 4 percent went to Libertarian Party candidate Betsy Summers, a Wilkes-Barre businesswoman.

Maher received 55 percent of the vote in York County, 101,252 compared to 73,378 for DePasquale.

Wins in House, too: DePasquale, D-York City, also won re-election to his seat in the 95th state House District. In that race, he beat Libertarian David Moser with nearly 83 percent of the vote.

DePasquale received 16,640 votes in that race comapred to 3,394 for Moser.

On Tuesday, DePasquale, 41, said he will resign that seat in January, necessitating a special election to fill the seat.

Looking ahead: As auditor general, DePasquale said he will first order an audit of all water-protection programs to evaluate whether Marcellus Shale natural-gas extraction is negatively affecting drinking water.

Next, he said, would be an audit of all job-creation programs to find out if they're working.

The auditor general is an independent watchdog responsible for ensuring that public funds are spent properly and state programs are operated efficiently and effectively.

- The Associated Press contributed to thi story. Erin James may also be reached at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.