Rob Teplitz believes a Democrat can win a state Senate seat that has been in Republican hands for 70 years.

Teplitz, 40, of Susquehanna Township, has announced his candidacy for the 15th Senate District seat, which is up for election in 2012. The seat is currently held by Sen. Jeffrey Piccola, R-Dauphin.

Teplitz, chief counsel and director of the office of policy and planning for Auditor General Jack Wagner since 2005, said he is getting an early start because he knows it will be a tough race.

Piccola has held the seat since 1995 and was re-elected in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote.

"I have had many meetings and seen a lot of studies in the last seven months, and the data shows a Democrat can win this seat, and I intend to be that Democrat," Teplitz said.

Teplitz was also Wagner's legal counsel when Wagner was a state senator, and worked on legal and policy issues for Bob Casey Jr. when Casey was auditor general. Teplitz said through his work he has seen how and where taxpayers' money is wasted and that many of the problems state government faces can be addressed without raising taxes if the political will is there to make the changes that are needed.

Teplitz is a graduate of Central Dauphin High School, Franklin & Marshall College, and Cornell Law School. He and his wife, Randi, have two sons.

In York County, the 15th Senate District represents Conewago and Newberry townships, as well as Goldsboro, Lewisberry and York Haven boroughs. The seat also represents portions of Dauphin County.

- Reach Charlie Lardner at 505-5439 or clardner@yorkdispatch.com.