MCCANDLESS (KDKA) — She was once the third most powerful Republican senator in the state, but Monday night PA Sen. Jane Orie found herself handcuffed and locked in holding cell for more than a couple hours.
Now privately, Republican leaders are weighing whether to ask the Republican senator to step down.
Karen Shaheen is a long-time Orie supporter and treasurer of the Allegheny County Republican Party.
“My biggest concern at this point is that it has to be affecting how she is able to perform her duties,” Shaheen told KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano.
Shaheen, a McCandless resident, is speaking personally — not as a Republican official — but others say Orie’s legal difficulties are taking a toll on her job.
On the big issues — taxes, the budget, school choice, liquor stores – Shaheen says Orie has lost her voice.
Shaheen: “There has been nothing out there.”
Delano: “From her?”
Shaheen: “From Jane, correct. She’s always historically been out there on the forefront. So, of course, this has to be impacting her.”
And Shaheen says about Orie, “She has not been out there and not available for comment on any of these issues that are happening at the state level.”
Shaheen stops short of calling for Orie’s resignation but adds, “It gets to a point where you have to weigh what your responsibility is to what your needs are personally to see if you can continue in the capacity.”
While some Republicans were suspicious of Democrat District Attorney Stephen Zappala’s original charges against Orie, claims of forgery and perjury are different.
“Extremely disappointed. Saddened,” says Shaheen. “I was hoping that this was all going to go away.”
Now other Republican leaders say privately they hope Senator Orie will make the right decision, but there is no indication at all that Orie will step down.
She was re-elected last November with 58 percent of the vote and has more than three years left in her term.