Pa. may reconsider lieutenant governor election process

    Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack (left) and Gov. Tom Wolf  (AP, file)

    Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Mike Stack (left) and Gov. Tom Wolf (AP, file)

    Legislation being introduced in Pennsylvania’s Senate calls for changing how the state elects its lieutenant governor.

    It was prompted by a scandal that hit Lt. Gov. Mike Stack recently, which called attention to an apparent rift between himself and Gov. Tom Wolf.

    Pennsylvania now uses the relatively uncommon method of having the governor and lieutenant for either party run separately in the primary, and then together in the general election.

    That can have the effect of creating odd couplings — like, for instance, Wolf and Stack. The two Democrats are rarely seen together, and they don’t communicate frequently.

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    When allegations surfaced in April that Stack was verbally abusing his security detail and other staff members, Wolf stripped him of the detail and cut down on the people who work in the lieutenant governor’s mansion.

    Sen. David Argall, R-Schuylkill, is sponsoring the legislation to amend the state Constitution to require the governor and lieutenant to run on a single, intentional ticket.

    “I think the current situation is embarrassing,” Argall said. “If you have an organization — I don’t care if it’s public sector or private sector — you expect the No. 1 person and the No. 2 person to work together.”

    Passing an amendment is a difficult, two-session-long process.

    So far, about a dozen other lawmakers are on board.

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