Special Election to Replace Patrick Meehan Set for Nov. 6

Nominees to be chosen by party delegates, not by primary election

Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan resigned last week to end a House Ethics Committee investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has set the special election to replace Republican Rep. Patrick Meehan for Nov. 6, the same day as the general election.

“Given the calendar and timing of these announcements, it makes the most fiscal and practical sense for our county elections office to schedule these special elections on the same day as the November general election,” the Democratic governor said in a statement.

Meehan resigned last week after saying earlier that he would not run for re-election. He was facing allegations of sexual harassment and reportedly used taxpayer funds to settle a harassment case with a former staffer. He said he was stepping down to end the House Ethics Committee investigation into his actions, which he suggested could have become a burden on his staff and taxpayers. Meehan said he intends to repay the U.S. Treasury for the $39,000 settlement amount. 

The winner of the special election in November will serve out the final two months of Meehan’s term representing the current 7th District. Nominees will be chosen by party delegates, rather than through a traditional primary election.

The state Supreme Court threw out the current congressional map in January, finding it an illegal partisan gerrymander. The new map imposed by the court made Meehan’s district — renumbered the 5th — more Democratic. 

While the special election will be to represent the district under its current lines, the general election will be for the new 5th District. A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of State said last month that special elections would take place using the old map.

There will likely be a second congressional special election Nov. 6 on the Pennsylvania ballot. GOP Rep. Charlie Dent plans to officially resign this month, after which Wolf will declare another special election.

Wolf indicated Wednesday he would schedule other congressional special elections for Nov. 6, unless a vacancy occurs within 60 days of the general election.

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