(WHTM/AP) — The late Pennsylvania State Representative Tony DeLuca won re-election Tuesday night, one month after he passed away after a brief battle with lymphoma.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, DeLuca received nearly 86% of the vote running against Green Party candidate Queonia Livingston in the Pittsburgh-area 32nd House District.
DeLuca received nearly 14,000 Election Day votes and more than 7,000 mail-in votes.
In addition to the House Insurance Committee, DeLuca served on the Democratic Policy Committee and was a member of several caucuses including Autism, Cancer, Firefighters and Emergency Services, Mental Health, Sportsmen, and Steel, the Democratic Caucus reports. He was also one of the original co-founders of the PA Legislative American-Italian Caucus.
Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster) will need to schedule a special election to fill DeLuca’s vacancy in the 32nd District, according to the Associated Press.
If a candidate dies, Pennsylvania state law only allows replacement candidates to be submitted if ballots have not yet started printing.
In Allegheny County, officials sent data for the ballots to the printer on Sept. 28, county spokesperson Amie Downs told The Associated Press. DeLuca died of cancer Oct. 9 with less than a month to go before the election.
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“The state has an election calendar that outlines dates for withdrawals, substitutions, etc. and all of those dates had passed when the Representative died,” Downs wrote in an email. “This is not the first time this has happened either.”
Trevor Southerland, executive director of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee, told the AP that “under Pennsylvania law, there was no way to remove Rep. DeLuca from the ballot.” He also said the deadline is when ballots begin printing.
Southerland confirmed that DeLuca’s win simply means that the seat will be vacant until a special election is held. The date of that election has yet to be determined.
“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,” the committee wrote in a tweet. “A special election will follow soon.”
Special elections will also need to be called to replace State Rep. Austin Davis, who is projected to become Pennsylvania’s next Lieutenant Governor, and State Rep. Summer Lee, who was elected to Congress.
All three represented districts in Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.