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Democrats recommend veterinarian to vie for open Senate seat

A retired Lebanon County veterinarian was selected on Saturday as the presumptive Democratic nominee to compete in a four-person race in the May 18 special election to fill the open 48th state senatorial district seat.

A majority of Democratic committee people from the district who participated in the nominating convention chose Dr. Calvin Clements as the nominee to recommend to the state party’s executive committee. He was selected from a field of candidates that also included Laura Quick and Ralph Duquette, both of Lebanon County, and Sandra Thompson of York County.

The state party’s executive committee makes the final decision on whether to accept the district committee people’s recommended nominee, which party officials said is a near certainty. That decision is expected by Monday evening.

Clements, 70, of South Londonderry Township, if approved by the executive committee, will go on to face off against Republican Christopher Gebhard of Lebanon County, independent Ed Krebs of Lebanon County, and Libertarian Tim McMaster in the May 18 special election. That date coincides with the primary.

Clements said he is interested in serving in the Senate because “I believe we need to change the narrative in Harrisburg.”

“As a centrist, I strongly believe that we need to work together and return to the work of the taxpayer,” he said. “Our state teeters on the brink of bankruptcy as a result of the ignored unfunded pensions and the COVID crisis. If we fail to resolve these financial issues, the outcome will be devastating to a vast number of Pennsylvanians.”

Clements said he would work to end the partisan politics and usher in an era of bipartisan cooperation.

The winner of the special election will serve out the unexpired portion of the late Sen. Dave Arnold’s term, which is set to expire on Nov. 30, 2022. Arnold died on Jan. 17 from a form of brain cancer.
The 48th Senate District includes all of Lebanon County as well as the Dauphin County municipalities of Conewago, Londonderry, Swatara and Lower Swatara townships and the boroughs of Highspire, Middletown, Paxtang, Royalton and Steelton; and the York County municipalities of Conewago, East Manchester, Newberry and Springettsbury townships and the borough of Goldsboro, Lewisberry, Manchester, Mount Wolf, and York Haven.

Jan Murphy may be reached at jmurphy@pennlive.com. Follow her on Twitter at @JanMurphy.

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