Chris Gebhard, who won a state Senate seat in a special election last year to fill the unexpired term on Senator Dave Arnold, has announced plans to run again for a full term in office.

Gebhard, of North Cornwall Township, was chosen by the Lebanon County Republican Committee last March to run in a special election to fill the 48th Senate District seat following the death of Arnold in January from brain cancer.

He received two thirds of the popular vote in May, easily besting the three candidates who opposed him: Democrat Calvin “Doc” Clements, Independent Edward H. Krebs and Libertarian Tim McMaster. The current term ends in November.

The 48th district currently covers Lebanon County and parts of York and Dauphin counties. Under a redistricting plan announced Feb. 4 by the state Legislative Reapportionment Commission, the 48th district will include parts of Berks and Lancaster counties and all of Lebanon county.

No candidates have come forward to date to oppose Gebhard in either the Republican primary in May or the general election in November. There is also still a possibility that the redistricting plan will be appealed and changed before the election.

Read more: Meet Chris Gebhard, Republican candidate for 48th Senate District seat

In a statement issued Tuesday by Chief of Staff Matthew Urban, Gebhard said it’s his intention to seek the Republican nomination for a full four-year term.

“It has been an honor to serve my constituents in the General Assembly in Harrisburg this past year and I look forward to the opportunity to serve a full-term beginning at the end of this year,” Gebhard said in the release.

Gebhard said he was “initially disappointed to see the 48th district lose sections of Dauphin and York counties in the redistricting process,” but he looks forward “to meeting and working with the folks in Berks and Lancaster counties.”

“I truly am excited to see Lebanon combining with Berks and Lancaster,” he added. “I think it makes sense and is a natural fit.”

Gebhard serves on six Senate committees for the 2021-22 legislative session: Appropriations, Banking and Insurance, Game and Fisheries, Intergovernmental Operations, Urban Affairs and Housing, and Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness.

He said in the release that he plans to keep pushing “the same principles he first outlined last year.”

“I think it’s vital we have people in Harrisburg to oppose Governor Wolf’s tax and spend agenda, fight for real election reforms, like voter ID, and jumpstart Pennsylvania’s economy from the devastating polices put forth by the Wolf and Biden administrations,” he said.

Gebhard has also been a vocal opponent criticizing vaccine mandates while supporting in-person full time learning in Pennsylvania’s schools.

“I have seen firsthand the harmful effects the past two years have had on our school aged children,” he said. “We can simultaneously provide a safe and healthy environment while providing the structure of in-person learning our children need to succeed. It has been disheartening to see our education system fail so many these past two years.”

Gebhard owns Hoaster Gebhard & Co., an insurance and risk management firm in Lebanon. He had no prior political experience before his campaign for Senate last year.


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An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to a ”six-year” term. Pennsylvania state Senate terms are four years. We sincerely regret the error.