Tea Party Candidate First Ever to Win as Write-In for PA State Senate

Tea Party Candidate First Ever to Win as Write-In for PA State Senate

A Tea Party candidate became the first ever state senator in Pennsylvania to win as a write-in candidate on Tuesday in a special election that showed how dissatisfied voters are, even at the local level, with both organized political parties.

During the campaign, conservative Republican Scott Wagner was blistered by establishment Republicans that he accused of “orchestrating the special election in such a way to hand the seat, vacated by Mike Waugh in January,” to the establishment Republican candidate Ron Miller. 

According to the Patriot-News, Wagner captured 48 percent of the vote in York County while Democrat Linda Small got 26 percent and establishment Republican Ron Miller 27 percent. Wagner will immediately “serve as the state senator representing the 28th District through Nov. 30, allowing Republicans to maintain their 27 to 23 majority in the chamber. The seat is up for election for a four-year term later this year.”

“You sit down at the table. You drink a cup of coffee or you have lunch in somebody’s office and you have to learn a little bit of their story, and they have to learn a little bit of my story,” Wagner said, according to the Patriot-News. “But what I’m all about is more representative of what’s reality on the street… I didn’t get where I am today by not sitting down.”

Wagner, who owns a trucking company, “comes to the Senate planning to be a maverick by not accepting a taxpayer-funded pension or health insurance, limiting himself to two terms, limiting his contacts with special interests, and working to downsize state government.” 

“I don’t fear the Republican Party, trust me,” Wagner said, according to the York Dispatch. “They ran their best guy… and he broke his legs halfway around the track.”

Wagner simply ran on “a platform of smaller government and fiscal conservatism,” and that focused message allowed him to survive the onslaught of negative ads against him and his trucking business.

He has to go right back into campaign mode, though, because Wagner will face a primary on May 20 for the Republican nomination in November against two candidates, including Miller.