HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Elections often have consequences, something Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Jones (R-York) is experiencing after the May 17 primary.
Jones defied the Republican establishment by endorsing two Republican challengers who ultimately defeated longtime incumbents Stan Saylor and Keith Gillespie in the primary.
Jones endorsed competitors Joseph D’Orsie and Wendy Fink at York’s Round the Clock Diner a week before the May primary.
“When York Couty needed them the most, Stan Saylor and Keith Gillespie were sitting at home,” Jones said at the time by claiming Saylor and Gillespie didn’t stand up to COVID-19 rules and shutdowns.
“They’re my friends. I tried to warn them, they didn’t listen. It’s time for them to go,” Jones said going into the primary.
Wendy Fink defeated Saylor, a 28-year incumbent and the third most powerful Republican in the House, in the 94th District by 11%.
In the 47th District, Joseph D’Orsie defeated Gillespie, a 20-year veteran of the House, by 19%.
Following last Tuesday’s election, Jones was removed from three of the four committees he sat on and his seat on the House floor was moved away from his southcentral colleagues.
“I take no pleasure in my colleagues losing,” said Jones. “Actions have consequences, I’m a grown man.”
House Republican leaders cited internal caucus decisions regarding Jones’ seat on the floor and on the committees. Jones remains on the Aging & Older Adult Services Committee.
Investigative reporter Brad Bumstead of The Caucus says the move to strip Jones of his committee seats may ultimately hurt more than one person.
“It raises an interesting question as to whether the constituents of that person who’s being punished suffer because they don’t have their member on good committees anymore.”
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Bumstead noted that this is not the first time party leaders have come down on members for not sticking with their own, citing an instance where a western Pennsylvanian member did not tow the party line.
“They just had his desk moved out in the hallway. He had no desk, no phone, just sitting out there.”
Jones says that he hasn’t talked to Saylor or Gillespie but said he will in time, knowing that losing an election is “not easy for them.”
“I certainly consider them friends and I know it wasn’t personal, it was business,” said Jones. “I can understand they’re not terribly happy with me.”