HARRISBURG — Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, ordered a special election to coincide with Pennsylvania’s primary election on Tuesday, May 18, to fill the vacant seat in the 59th Legislative District in Westmoreland and Somerset counties.
The vacancy was created by the sudden passing of Rep. Mike Reese, R-Westmoreland/Somerset, who died earlier this month of an apparent brain aneurysm.
Reese, 42, of Mount Pleasant Township, was elected to his seventh term in the House of Representatives in November. He ran unopposed. He represented the 59th District, which encompasses portions of Somerset and Westmoreland counties, including Cook, Donegal, Fairfield, Ligonier, Mount Pleasant and St. Clair townships, along with parts of Hempfield and Unity townships and Bolivar, Donegal, Laurel Mountain, Ligonier, New Florence and Seward boroughs.
In early December, Reese was diagnosed with coronavirus (COVID-19) and had quarantined for several weeks. He had been on the mend when he recently fell ill.
Reese was considered a rising star in legislative circles. He served the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus as caucus secretary in the 2019-20 session and was elected to serve as Republican caucus chairman in the 2020-21 session.
“Rep. Reese set an example for every legislator to follow, and he is greatly missed in the chamber by members and close friends on both sides of the aisle,” Cutler said. “His commitment to his family and his constituents could never be questioned, and he leaves enormous shoes to fill on our House Republican leadership team.”
In an unscripted tribute to Reese, supporters across his district displayed his campaign signs and put out new signs thanking Reese for his service to the district.
Candidates for the office will be selected by a process designated by their respective political parties, and the winner of the special election will take office after the results are confirmed.
The district office will remain open, under supervision of the House, to assist constituents with issues or problems and to continue constituent inquiries already in progress. The office will remain open until a new representative takes office and decides how to manage the district.
The 59th Legislative District office at 2230 Mount Pleasant Road, Mount Pleasant, can be reached by phone at 724-423-6503 and the district office at Ligonier Town Hall, 120 E. Main St., Ligonier, can be reached at 724-238-2155.