HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A state Senate race is over as incumbent Sen. Rob Teplitz conceded to businessman John DiSanto Wednesday, just hours after refusing to do so at an election watch party.
But the one-term senator said he still has questions about the integrity of the vote.
Teplitz congratulated his opponent in a statement, saying, “It is time for us to come together and start healing.”
It came as the businessman took something of a victory lap around the district, taking down his political signs as he looked at the road ahead.
“Getting signs down, getting ready to go into the Senate,” DiSanto said.
The political newcomer won the 15th senatorial seat, spanning Dauphin and Perry counties, by some 3,300 votes.
But Teplitz raised doubts very early Wednesday morning about the process.
“I have to say, I have a tremendous lack of confidence based on what happened today,” he said at an election party thrown by the Dauphin County Democratic Committee.
“He needs to do whatever he needs to do,” DiSanto said, “and we’re just preparing to get sworn into the Senate.”
What he’s doing is asking both Dauphin and Perry County elections offices to investigate the vote.
In the statement emailed out to news outlets Wednesday, he reiterated his concerns about “irregularities,” like under-staffing at polling places leading to voters leaving early, inconsistent internal numbers and slow response from election officials to fix the problems.
“What makes this most troubling is the fact that we couldn’t get answers to basic questions all day,” he said.
The senator also raised concerns about how long it took to collect and count the vote, something he didn’t believe should last into the wee hours of the next morning.
“Very hotly contested election night, so temperatures are still running hot, and I think that’s understandable,” Dauphin County Commissioners chief clerk Chad Saylor said.
Saylor said nothing unusual happened, there was just a big turnout. Teplitz didn’t buy that.
The vote isn’t official yet; it’ll be verified in the next week and a half starting Monday. Workers will count provisional ballots and make sure absentee votes were tallied correctly.
Elections officials in both counties said Wednesday they had not heard directly from the Teplitz campaign about starting an investigation, and they weren’t sure what that might entail.
Saylor explained how one could go about challenging the election results, namely by asking the courts for a recount. That process probably wouldn’t start until December.
“I don’t have any interest in prolonging this,” Teplitz said, “but I do think that the process is there for a reason and we want to exercise that.”
“It’s up to them,” DiSanto said of the campaign. “We’ll go through the process and I’m going to be sworn into the Senate in January.”