Local Democrats have chosen a retired veterinarian Saturday to face-off against Republican candidate Christopher Gebhard in the May 18 special election for the vacant 48th Senate District seat.
Dr. Calvin “Doc” Clements, 70, of South Londonderry Township, was recommended by the executive committee Saturday night to be the party nominee. The 48th District includes Lebanon County and parts of York and Dauphin counties.
The party’s state executive committee must approve Clements as the nominee. They are expected to meet Monday evening.
In a release provided by the Lebanon County Democrats committee, Clements said that he believed that “the time to return to the politics of compromise is long overdue.”
“In my opinion, partisan politics has prevented the legislature from solving problems of Pennsylvania and has brought the state to the door step of insolvency,” he said. “I believe if we continue on this path, many PA taxpayers will be forced into bankruptcy as the pension fund flounders.”
Clements, if approved, will run against Gebhard, president and CEO of Hoaster, Gedhard & Co., who was chosen by the Lebanon County Republican committee on Mar. 6. Libertarian candidate Tim McMaster, of Conewago Township, and Independent candidate Ed Krebs, Palmyra, are also running for the seat.
A practicing veterinarian in Palmyra for 35 years before he retired, Clements was the founding CEO of Central Veterinary Associates. Clements has also volunteered at The Caring Cupboard food pantry during the pandemic.
Republicans hold a voter registration edge over Democrats in the 48th Senate district, and have held the seat since 1983. Clements only received 37 percent of the vote when he ran against state Rep. Frank Ryan in 2020.
“If I maintain that margin in Lebanon County and utilize my name recognition and hard work, Dauphin and York portions of the 48th district could provide the needed votes to win,” he said in the release.
The seat was held by state Sen. Dave Arnold, who died Jan. 17 as a result of brain cancer. There were still two years left in Arnold’s term.
The special election that put Arnold in office was held in January 2020, away from a primary or general election and cost more than $77,000 for ballots and operations. That was before Act 77 took effect to add mail-in balloting.
Matthew Toth is a reporter for the Lebanon Daily News. Reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DAMattToth.