A Pennsylvania man who died earlier this year was reelected to his position as a state representative.
Democrat Tony DeLuca, the longest-running Pennsylvania state representative, at 39 years, died last month at 85 of lymphoma, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Because of his recent death, election authorities were unable to change the ballots, and many voters chose him over Green Party challenger Queonia “Zarah” Livingston, marked by a sizable lead. A special election will be held to choose a proper candidate to take his seat.
“While we’re incredibly saddened by the loss of Representative Tony DeLuca, we are proud to see the voters to continue to show their confidence in him and his commitment to Democratic values by re-electing him posthumously. A special election will follow soon,” Pennsylvania House Democrats said in a tweet.
Some observers speculate that many voters chose DeLuca knowing he was dead in order to force a special election rather than vote for his third-party opponent, according to local reporter Charlie Wolfson.
Livingston, a former healthcare worker, ran on a decidedly left-wing platform, putting as her three main priorities on her website “environmental justice,” “ending the war on drugs,” and “reducing gun violence.” Among her policy proposals were a ban on fracking, legalizing and funding “safe injection sites and needle exchanges,” and establishing a $20 minimum wage, an almost three times increase over what it is currently.
DeLuca served as Democratic chairman on the House Insurance Committee for 20 years, according to WTAE. Press secretary Nicole Reigelman told the outlet that the special election to fill DeLuca’s seat will likely be held in early spring.