The GOP has held onto Frank Ryan’s seat in the state House of Representatives.
Ryan, a Republican, represented the 101st legislative district for three terms, but announced early this year that he would not seek a fourth. Two candidates – Republican John Schlegel and Democrat Catherine “Cavi” Miller – both hoped to win his seat in the midterm election on Nov. 8.
- Retired educator sets sights on Frank Ryan’s legislative seat in Harrisburg
- Cornwall Democrat takes aim at state House seat in Lebanon’s 101st District
Schlegel, a retired educator from Cornwall, won the seat with a comfortable lead over Miller.
“I wanted to have a sustainable campaign plan that enabled me to work through the highs and lows of the election process,” Schlegel told LebTown. “I stayed focused on the campaign and worked very hard to connect with the voters.”
According to poll tallies, Schlegel received 14,014 votes, or 62.29 percent, while Miller received 8,483.
Read More: Lebanon County 2022 general election results
“I thought the voter turnout was steady at the polls throughout election day,” he said. “I was moved by the people I knew and the many that I met during the campaign. The tenor of the voters at the polls was upbeat and optimistic. It was great to see so many parents who brought their children with them to the polls.”
The 101st House district includes Lebanon City, Cornwall Borough, and North Cornwall, North Lebanon, South Lebanon, West Cornwall, West Lebanon townships.
“It was important to connect with the people of the 101st in a variety of ways,” Schlegel said, reflecting on his victory. “I believe it was key to the voters that I run a positive campaign which focused on my qualifications and experiences and draw upon that to be a strong voice in the state house.”
He noted that it was a challenging year to run a campaign, “given the redistricting process that caused a short window for candidates to circulate their petition and prepare for the primary.” Miller, he said, “ran a competitive race and put much effort into her campaign.”
Once he begins work in Harrisburg, Schlegel said he plans “to focus on ways to be a good steward of the taxpayer’s money and control spending. I will work hard for the people of the 101st and stay connected with them.”
“It is important to me that I continue to be visible and accessible to the people,” he added. “I look forward to working with Senator Gebhard, Representative Diamond, and 98th State Representative elect Tom Jones for the betterment of the people in Lebanon County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
‘Neither confident, nor hopeless’
Miller, the former executive director of the Lebanon County Bar Association, told LebTown she “felt neither confident, nor hopeless leading up to election day.”
“These are unprecedented times, with no incumbent, the decennial redistricting of the 101, and finally the Dobbs decision,” she said, referencing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June reversing Roe v. Wade. “My team and I crunched all sorts of numbers in an attempt to forecast the outcome, but agreed that this year, that was not possible.”
Even so, Miller said, she was “very surprised by the margin” of votes between her and Schlegel.
“My team and I worked tirelessly to get our message out to the voters, utilizing, TV, radio, billboards, 6 mailers, and many other means of communication,” she said. “Midterm elections have notoriously low voter turnout, but for some reason, this year was different — just not in our favor, in Lebanon County.”
She doesn’t take the loss personally, however, noting that Lebanon County is “a very red area,” where Josh Shapiro and John Fetterman – who won their statewide gubernatorial and senate races – also lost the popular vote.
“I believe in free and fair elections, and accept the results of the election,” Miller said. “The people of Lebanon made it clear on Tuesday what kind of leadership they want, and I look forward to running against him again in two years.”
Despite local losses among Democrats, Miller said in an email that she is “very relieved that Pennsylvania flipped. Electing Shapiro as Governor, and Fetterman to the US Senate, along with flipping the PA State House blue were my three goals.
“Although I was not individually successful with my campaign, decency and democracy prevailed and I am grateful to have been a part of that victory.”
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