HARRISBURG -- Democratic state Rep. Eugene DePasquale held a lead Tuesday night over Republican Rep. John Maher in the open race to serve as the state's next fiscal watchdog.
Addressing his supporters at a hotel in York, Mr. DePasquale attributed his victory in part to piling up huge margins in the state's two biggest areas.
"We won Philadelphia by 400,000 votes and Allegheny County by 100,000 votes," he said. "We also put up margins in other areas of the state that were unexpected."
Mr. DePasquale is the grandson of former Pittsburgh City Councilman Jeep DePasquale, but he later moved to York County.
"The six-decade drought for York County in winning statewide elections is over," he said to applause from the crowd.
Some months ago, when he first decided to run, "Nobody thought we would even win a primary, let alone the general election."
He thanked his family and his car for sticking with him. "I put over 90,000 miles on the car during this campaign," he said.
A special election will now have to be held to fill his state House seat.
Both candidates for auditor general had touted reputations as reformers in the state House of Representatives. Mr. DePasquale, 41, has said he plans to draw upon his experience as an attorney working in economic development for the city of York and as a deputy secretary in the Department of Environmental Protection and his plans to examine funding for transportation infrastructure, the effectiveness of jobs programs and how the state protects drinking water from pollution by drillers.
Mr. Maher, 53, of Upper St. Clair hinged his candidacy on his training and career as a public accountant, telling reporters and debate audiences alike that "Pennsylvania deserves an auditor general who knows how to audit." A certified public accountant, Mr. Maher authored a government accounting textbook, served in the New York office of a national accounting firm and founded his own firm, Maher Duessel, in Pittsburgh.
The victor replaces Auditor General Jack Wagner, a Pittsburgh Democrat who is barred by term limits from running again. The auditor general examines the finances and the performance of government programs in state agencies, school districts, hospitals, state-related universities and other entities receiving state money.
The third candidate for the post was Betsy Summers, a Libertarian who described herself as the only candidate free of Harrisburg allegiances.
Karen Langley: email@example.com or 1-717-787-4254.