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Date set to fill Krieger's 57th District seat in Pa. House

Rich Cholodofsky
| Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, 11:21 a.m.
Due to the resignation of Rep. Tim Krieger, effective Jan. 4, 2016, the seat for the 57th District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is vacant.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Due to the resignation of Rep. Tim Krieger, effective Jan. 4, 2016, the seat for the 57th District of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives is vacant.
State Rep. Tim Krieger will be sworn in as a Westmoreland County judge in January 2016.
submitted
State Rep. Tim Krieger will be sworn in as a Westmoreland County judge in January 2016.

Westmoreland County Republicans are vowing that former Rep. Tim Krieger's judicial win is not going to be a loss for their party in the state House.

“The Republicans are going to fight to keep this seat as hard as we've fought before,” said county GOP Committee Chairman Michael Korns.

A special election on March 15 was scheduled Thursday to fill the remainder of the term of the Delmont Republican who resigned last month after being sworn in as a county judge following his election to the bench in November. Krieger's term runs to the end of the year.

Candidates to fill the seat after his term expires will be nominated at an April 26 primary.

Krieger's 57th District seat consists of Greensburg, South Greensburg, Southwest Greensburg, Youngwood, part of Hempfield and Salem townships and Delmont.

Officials from the county Democratic and a Republican committees will nominate candidates to run in the special election. Korns said party committee members are tentatively scheduled to convene next week to select a candidate.

Democratic Committee Chairwoman Lorraine Petrosky said she will select a candidate for the special election next week after conferring with the party's executive committee.

“Every seat is important to us, and we hope to make some inroads,” Petrosky said.

The parties have until Jan. 25 to nominate candidates.

Feb. 16 is the deadline to register to vote in the special election. Absentee ballot applications must be submitted by March 8. In order to be counted, those absentee ballots are due to the county by March 11.

Candidates who want to run in the primary race for the full-term seat that starts in 2017 must file with the county elections bureau by Feb. 16.

Korns said he anticipates the Republican candidate who is chosen to run in the special election will be endorsed by the party in the April primary. Petrosky said if her party's candidate wins the special election, they will be endorsed in the primary.

The 57th District seat had been held for decades by Democrats until the 2008 retirement of Rep. Tom Tangretti. That year, Krieger defeated Democratic attorney John Boyle to win the seat for the GOP.

The district has 42,351 registered voters in 51 precincts. Democrats hold a registration edge with 47 percent of those voters. Republicans account for 40 percent of the voters in the district.

The special election will be the first conducted in Westmoreland County in six years. In 2010, about half of the county went to the polls to replace U.S. Rep. John Murtha, who died several months earlier.

Wanda Murren, spokeswoman for the Department of State, said the county will be reimbursed for all costs associated with the special election. Since 2004, special elections for the state House have averaged a cost of $66,930, she said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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