Midstate senators in dust-up over primary election

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Emails do not stay within political boundaries.

Neither does Senator Scott Wagner (R-York), according to neighboring Senator Pat Vance (R-Cumberland).

Vance says she just had to speak up about a three-page missive Wagner sent to his supporters that dissed her and encroached on her 31st District.

“I was initially very surprised,” Vance said of the email sent Tuesday. “I thought it was way out of bounds.”

Vance is retiring and her successor will likely be chosen in Tuesday’s primary. There are four candidates running: state Representative Mike Regan, former NFL football player Jon Ritchie, dentist Brice Arndt, and lawyer Scott Harper.

In his email, Wagner ripped Vance’s hand-picked candidate, Ritchie, and endorsed Regan.

Vance called it bad form and unheard of that a sitting senator would intrude on a fellow senator’s district and push an alternate candidate.

The email mostly focused on the folks running Ritchie’s campaign, lobbyists Long Nyquist and Associates, specifically that public sector unions are clients of Long Nyquist.

“I met Jon Ritchie at an event this past January,” Wagner wrote. “He is a decent person but has now been tainted by his campaign advisors. He has no clue as to how Long Nyquist are using him. Pennsylvania does not need another Republican in the state Legislature that has taken public sector union contributions and been endorsed by these same unions.”

“I thought it was uncalled for,” Vance said of the Wagner email, “but sometimes people who are very affluent are used to having what they want and this another case of he wants who he wants.”

And what Wagner wants, the email makes clear, is Regan to win the election.

What Vance wants is for Wagner to butt out of her district.

“He has no vote. It’s kind of arrogant to think that he should make the decision when he doesn’t even live here,” she said.

Vance warned that voters should be wary of Wagner’s motives. She quoted a recent York Daily Record story in which he said he’s trying “to purge the Senate.”

“That’s a frightening word,” Vance said. “I know the way he thinks and he’s purging the Senate? That’s his thought.”

Does Vance think Wagner is a bully?

“Yes, I do.”

But Wagner is undaunted. He sees his actions as reforming Harrisburg and is gathering allies to his cause. He sees Regan as an ally in his fight.

The Wagner email concludes: “Electing Jon Ritchie to the state Senate makes Jon Ritchie the puppet of Long Nyquist and gives their firm and their public sector union clients more access in Harrisburg through Jon Ritchie. Enough is enough – it is time for Republicans to stop electing Republicans who accept public sector union money and their endorsements.”

Vance insists that Wagner’s claim isn’t even accurate.

“His big thing is paycheck protections. I voted for that, so what is he talking about? He likes people who are controllable and I’ve always been pretty independent,” Vance said.

It appears a proxy war has broken out in the 31st District between candidates, campaign consultants and now, sitting senators.

Ritchie has Long Nyquist and Vance battling for him.

Regan counters with Red Maverick Media and Wagner.

Which team will win the increasingly negative fight?

What role will Arndt and Harper play?

Voters will provide the answers come Tuesday.

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