State lawmaker Vitali to run for Meehan congressional seat

Pa. State Representative Greg Vitali (D-166)

Pa. state Rep. Greg Vitali is the seventh Democrat to declare his candidacy for the congressional seat now held by Republican U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan. (Photo provided)

Pennsylvania state Rep. Greg Vitali of Delaware County has announced he’ll seek the congressional seat held by Republican U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan who decided last week against seeking re-election.

Vitali, a 13-term Democrat, said in a statement he’ll focus on climate change, which he calls “the single greatest long-term threat to our world.”

Vitali is the seventh declared candidate for the May 15 Democratic primary for the 7th Congressional District, which includes parts of Delaware, Chester, Montgomery, Berks, and Lancaster counties.

Meehan dropped his re-election bid last week after reports surfaced that he’d quietly settled a sexual harassment claim from a woman on his congressional staff.

In a series of media interviews, Meehan insisted that he didn’t commit sexual harassment. If the House Ethics Committee finds otherwise, he vowed to repay the sum taxpayers paid to the complainant, which Meehan called a severance payment.

Vitali said in an interview he will not file to run for both his state House seat and the congressional race.

The deadline to file for either office is March 6, though the course of the election could be affected by a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision which found the state’s congressional lines unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

The court gave the state Legislature and the governor until Feb. 15 to approve a new congressional map. If that doesn’t happen, the court may impose a map of its own.

Other announced Democratic candidates include Dan Muroff, a lawyer and former congressional staffer; bioengineer Molly Sheehan; real estate agent Elizabeth Moro; IT executive Drew McGinty; state Sen. Daylin Leach; and attorney Shelly Chauncey.

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