If elected Pa. Lt. Gov., Sen. Stack says he might hold both jobs until May

Mike Stack (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Mike Stack (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A state senator from Philadelphia who’s running for Pennsylvania Lt. Governor is making waves by suggesting that if he wins in November, he might try to keep both jobs.

A spokesman for Democratic state Sen. Mike Stack says he’s just trying to save the taxpayers money.

With Democrat Tom Wolf up by at least seven points in the polls, his running mate, Sen. Stack, looks like the odds-on favorite to become the next governor’s right-hand man.

But then what will happen to Stack’s seat in the senate? Normally a special election would be held right away. But Stack would rather voters wait to replace during the May primary. And that means that for at least a few months, Stack would hold jobs in two branches of government.

Chris Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg College, says Stack’s idea raises serious questions about the separation of powers.

“The idea that you would have a lieutenant governor in a position where they’re working with an administration and also in their regular capacity as a senator would really raise questions about the independence of both branches,” Borick said.

Stack’s campaign manager, Marty Marks, says the candidate isn’t trying to set up any kind of unconstitutional double-dip.

“Any speculation as to whether he would or could continue to serve simultaneously as lieutenant governor and in the state senate is premature and hypothetical at best and remains a topic to be considered after November 4th,” Marks said.

The problem is that special elections are expensive to run and plagued by low turnout. Marks said Stack will let the experts advise him after the Novermber elections. But, he added, if Stack ends up with two jobs, he’ll still only accept one paycheck.

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