Frank Ryan, the Republican state representative serving the 101st Legislative District, won reelection with nearly two thirds of the vote.
The two-term incumbent received 21,159 votes, according to the most recent unofficial tally, which is more than enough to return him to his seat for another two years. His Democratic challenger, Calvin “Doc” Clements, received 12,466 votes, or 37.0 percent.
The 101st district represents Cornwall, Lebanon, Mount Gretna, Palmyra, and North Cornwall, North Londonderry, South Annville, South Londonderry and West Cornwall townships.
“I’m a little tired, but I’m glad it’s over,” Ryan said Wednesday morning.
“I’m very very pleased and so incredibly thankful for the overwhelming support of the people in the community,” he added. “We’ve had a pretty tumultuous year in Pennsylvania.”
Although incumbents can be tough to unseat, Ryan said he never doubted that the tide of public opinion could turn.
“I’m always in doubt about the outcome,” he said. “There was a great piece of advice I got a long time ago: You should always run scared.”
“I know we live in a fairly conservative area, but we have had a lot of turmoil. You never know what people are going to do,” he added. “I don’t believe in taking anything like that for granted.”
Statewide, Ryan said, it looks like the GOP picked up seats in both the state House and Senate. That, he said, “is a fairly telling sign that some of the draconian measures that have come out of the executive branch and judicial overreach” are not winning fans among voters.
He hopes to help restore balance in the state — and that means “being diplomats in the process, and not tip the scales the other way,” he said.
Clements was philosophical about the loss.
“Obviously when one runs for office they plan to win but in Lebanon County running as a Democrat you have to be realistic and realize the likelihood of that is fairly slim,” he said. “I entered this race in late February as a relative unknown and in the end achieved 37 percent of the vote which I think is a pretty decent outcome.”
Clements noted that, although a Democrat, his positions “are not at all left and mainly centrist.”
“I ran to bring the voters attention in Lebanon County to the massive unfunded pension debt and an ill-considered solution to tax the taxpayer for the malfeasance of the legislature to handle the issue for the past 25 years,” he said. “And an unfair solution to school funding. Unfortunately, the debt is so massive that and each man, woman and child owes $17,500 if we are to make the state solvent.”
The campaign this year was “complicated” by the COVID-19 crisis, Clements said.
“I could not safely go door to door in good conscience and ask voters to meet me and explain my positions,” he explained. “Unfortunately, limited exposure did not help when I was running against an incumbent. Certainly a 40-minute radio debate was not extremely useful in making the voters familiar with my positions.”
Clements said he plans to remain politically active.
“My hope is that we can see a more productive legislative session over the next two years and take steps to prevent the state from going bankrupt,” he said.
“I think at this time taxpayers believe that a debt fairy will probably fly down and take care of Pennsylvania’s debt,” he added, “and when the reality of the massive amount of money that is owed settles there will be some major shock. I believe the state will go bankrupt much sooner than predicted and the taxpayers will be shocked when services such as police, fire, education, highway services and healthcare are extremely reduced.”
Down the road, he said, Clements hopes the elections leads to “more unity” in the resolution of the COVID crisis “and a good dose of reality toward the fiscal crisis. I wish my opponent the best of luck.”
Ryan said he doesn’t have much to say about his opponent, noting that he thought some of Clements’ campaigning was a little too aggressive but, “because we didn’t have any face-to-face contact this session, I really didn’t get a chance to see him. We had almost no interaction whatsoever … I stayed focus on my race.”
“I wish him well,” Ryan added.
Back in Harrisburg, Ryan’s immediate plans include pushing forward House Bills 985, 1053 and 110, all of which he sponsored and believes will save the state a considerable sum; advance pension and municipal debt reform measures; pass the Maxwell Schollenberger bill – named for the 12-year-old Lebanon boy who died earlier this year, allegedly from neglect – to update state custody laws for children; and “the coup de grace, property tax elimination. I’m bound and determined to make that happen.”
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Full Disclosure: The campaigns of Frank Ryan and Calvin Clements were previously advertisers on LebTown. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising relationships and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.