PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – No one denies that Democrat Lindsey Williams won a close but hard-fought state Senate race.
But now some Republicans are charging that she should not be seated as a state senator, saying she was not here four years ago as constitutionally required.
Democrats charge that Republicans are trying to steal an election they just lost.
“This is yet another Republican attempt to undo an election,” attorney Chuck Pascal, who represents PA Sen.-elect Williams told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
Williams won the election in the North Hills, Alle-Kiski Valley, and part of the city defeating Republican Jeremy Shaffer.
“Purely partisan, and it has to do with the fact that the Republicans once again are upset that they lost an election that was one of their seats,” said Pascal.
Senate Republican leaders deny that telling KDKA-TV through Jennifer Kocher, communications director for the Senate Majority Leader, “We are currently reviewing the information that was provided by Ms. Williams.”
“As much as people would like to make this about politics, the reality is this is about upholding the Constitution,” noted Kocher.
The state Constitution requires that state Senate candidates be “inhabitants of the state for four years” before their election to office.
In this case, that would be November 6, 2014.
“On November 6th of 2014, Lindsey was living with friends of hers in the North Hills and preparing to change jobs,” said Pascal, her attorney.
At the request of Senate Republican leaders, Williams has submitted sworn affidavits from those friends attesting to her residency in Pittsburgh on that date.
“The materials supplied by Ms. Williams answers some questions but certainly raises new issues,” noted Drew Compton, chief of staff to the Senate’s top Republican, PA Sen. Joe Scarnati.
“Senator Scarnati has retained legal counsel to review the legitimacy of the legal arguments made on her behalf,” wrote Compton.
“After we have had sufficient time to review the materials provided we will make known our next step in a few days.”
Williams remains hopeful GOP senators will join Democrats to seat her on January 1.
“I would hope that there would be Republicans who care enough about the facts and the Constitution and the institution of the state Senate who would look at this in a non-partisan way,” noted Pascal.
One Senate insider told KDKA that if the Senate refuses to seat a duly-elected state Senator, watch for major demonstrations at the state Capitol on New Year’s Day.
Attorney Pascal said if a majority of state Senate Republicans denies Sen.-elect Williams her seat in the state Senate, she will immediately take that case to the state Supreme Court.