FILE - PA Dave Arnold

Pennsylvania state Sen.-elect Dave Arnold (inset)

Republican Dave Arnold has won a special election for Pennsylvania’s 48th Senate District, defeating Democrat Michael Schroeder to represent an area that covers all of Lebanon and portions of Dauphin and York counties.

Arnold, who has served as Lebanon County District Attorney for the past 14 years, defeated Schroeder, a professor, in Tuesday’s election by a large margin, capturing about two-thirds of the vote.

The election was scheduled to fill the vacancy created by the departure of former state Sen. Mike Folmer, who resigned in disgrace last year after the Attorney General’s Office announced that he had been arrested and charged in connection with child pornography allegations.

Arnold’s victory gives Senate Republicans a 28-21 margin in the chamber over Democrats; independent Sen. John Yudichak also caucuses with Republicans after leaving the Democratic Party last year.

“Special Elections are always unpredictable, but because of the excellent campaign run by Senator-Elect Arnold, Senate Republicans will now enjoy a 29 to 21 seat majority over the Democrats,” Pennsylvania Republican Chairman Lawrence Tabas said in a statement.

Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers and business groups on Wednesday hailed Arnold’s election victory.

“NFIB of PA extends congratulations to Senator-elect Dave Arnold, upon his win in the PA-48th state senate race yesterday,” the Pennsylvania chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses wrote on Twitter. “PA Small Businesses are very happy to hear about your success! We look forward to working with you,” the group said in a second tweet.

The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry similarly celebrated the victory with a tweet, noting that their political action committee had endorsed him in the race, and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati and Sen. Kristen Phillips-Hill also shared congratulations on Twitter.

Before his downfall, Folmer was one of Pennsylvania’s most influential senators, particularly in his role as chairman of the Senate State Government Committee. He had easily won elections in his conservative district in 2006, 2010 and 2018 and was unopposed in 2014.

Arnold will fill out the remainder of Folmer’s term, and the seat will be on the ballot again in 2022.

Regional Editor

Dave Lemery is a veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience. He was the editor of Suburban Life Media when its flagship newspaper was named best weekly in Illinois, and he has worked at papers in South Carolina, Indiana, Idaho and New York.