State GOP to nominate 48th Senate District candidate Saturday for special election

Lindsey O'Laughlin
York Dispatch

Committee members from the state Republican Party will meet Saturday in Lebanon County to choose who will be on the ballot in the special election for the 48th state Senate District, scheduled for the same day as the May 18 municipal primary.

Nine people announced their intentions to snag the Republican nomination after the late Sen. Dave Arnold Jr., R-Lebanon, died of cancer in January.

One of the candidates, Arnold's former chief of staff Gregory Moreland, has been making the rounds in the district to pitch himself as the best person for the job.

"My staff positions have afforded me the opportunity to become intimately familiar with the legislative process, and I feel that really allows me to be effective from day one," Moreland told the Newberry Township Board of Supervisors last month.

Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold, the Republican nominee for the state's 48th District Senate Seat.

The 48th District is a reliably Republican area that covers northeastern York County, part of Dauphin County and all of Lebanon County.

Five of the other Republican candidates — Larry Minnich, William Bering Jr., Christopher Gebhard, Kenneth Rummel and Thomas Morrissey Jr. — are from Lebanon County, Jeff Piccola, chair of the York County Republican Committee, confirmed.

Thomas Ryan and Robert Harkins from York County also are running, as is Maureen Roth from Dauphin County, Piccola said.

This will be the second special election in the 48th District in two years.

More:After death of state Sen. Dave Arnold Jr., voters headed for another special election

More:Special election to replace state Sen. Arnold to be held May 18, same day as primary

Arnold was elected in a special election in January 2020 to fill the seat left vacant by former Sen. Mike Folmer, R-Lebanon, who resigned in 2019 after being charged with possession of child pornography.

Bering, Ryan and Moreland also ran for the nomination in the last special election.

There are four Democrats in the running for their party's nomination, including Sandra Thompson in York County.

Thompson, an attorney and former president of the York NAACP, in 2019 mounted an unsuccessful bid for a seat on the York County Court of Common Pleas. 

York NAACP President Sandra Thompson speaks during Juneteenth Celebration at Campus Park next to Voni Grimes Gym in York City, Friday, June 19, 2020.  Dawn J. Sagert photo

The other Democratic candidates — Laura Quick, Ralph Duquette and Calvin Clements — are from Lebanon County.

The special election, as well as the inclusion of three proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot, will likely drive voter turnout, said Dan Sidelnick, chair of the Lebanon County Democrats.

"We'll get more people out to vote than if it was just a regular primary," he said.

There's also an independent candidate in the 48th race, Ed Krebs, from Lebanon County, Sidelnick said.

The Democratic Party committee members from York, Lebanon and Dauphin counties will vote March 13 on their nominee, Sidelnick said, before sending their decision to the state party for approval.

More:State Sen. Dave Arnold Jr., whose district includes part of York County, dies at 49