It’s been less than a week since U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) announced he’s resigning from Congress, and already three Republican state lawmakers have declared they will run for his seat.
State Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Elizabeth) declared Sunday that he’s suspending his U.S. Senate campaign to jump into the race. He joined state Sens. Kim Ward (R-Hempfield) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-Jefferson Hills), who announced last week that they will run to replace Murphy.
Murphy was forced to resign amid revelations of an extramarital affair in which the anti-abortion lawmaker allegedly urged his mistress to get an abortion.
Three Democrats will also compete in the 2018 election to represent Murphy’s district, which covers parts of Allegheny, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties. They include former Allegheny County Councilman and teacher union official Mike Crossey, former Department of Veterans Affairs Assistant Secretary Pam Iovino and emergency physician Bob Solomon.
Crossey, Iovino and Solomon had filed to run before Murphy was forced to resign from the U.S. House of Representatives.
Murphy’s decision to step down creates an unexpected opportunity for local politicians. Until becoming embroiled in scandal, Murphy had a firm grip on Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, which he has represented for nearly 15 years. He ran unopposed in 2014 and 2016.
He told House Speaker Paul Ryan and Gov. Tom Wolf last Thursday that he's resigning Oct. 21.
Wolf has yet to set a date for a special election to fill the remainder of Murphy's two-year term. Next year's primary and general elections will determine who holds the seat in the 2019-20 term.
The Associated Press contributed reporting.