Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Wagner has resigned his state Senate seat to campaign full time in his race against Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.
“I came to Harrisburg with a strong personality and a strong will to get things accomplished,” Wagner, 62, said in his farewell speech on the floor of the state Senate Monday, the Morning Call reported.
Wagner then offered an apology.
“I’ll admit that I wish I would have given more thought to some of the things I said when I first took office. But I’m the type of person, when I dive into projects that I know need close attention and present opportunities, I become very driven and sometimes overly passionate," he added, according to the paper. "If I have offended people inside this chamber, other people in the building or state government, I offer my apology.”
In his farewell speech, Wagner argued against the perception that he doesn't support public education.
“People have branded me as a person who wants to cut funding,” he said, the Morning Call reported. “That could not be further from the truth. I’ve heard my colleague [Philadelphia] Sen. [Vince] Hughes passionately advocate for these schools, and I look forward to working with him when I am back here as governor to try to right this wrong."
How did Wolf's campaign react?
“Scott Wagner’s resignation is proof that he is only interested in furthering himself politically," Beth Melena, spokesman for the Wolf Campaign, told the Morning Call. "But his decision does not erase his long record in the Senate of putting special interests before children, seniors, and hard-working Pennsylvanians."
What will happen with Wagner's former state Senate seat?
The seat Wagner vacated this week won't be filled by a special election, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.
Lt. Gov. Mike Stack wrote in a letter to state Senate leaders that he doesn't plan to schedule a special election to fill the remainder of Wagner's term because the expense wouldn't justify the short amount of time the winner would serve, the paper said.
Wagner's state Senate term would have ended Nov. 30, the Tribune-Review said. Stack said a special election coinciding with the Nov. 6 general election would leave the winner serving less than 20 days after the elections results are certified.
State law gives the presiding officer the power to decide whether or not to hold an election if a vacancy happens less than seven months before the term ends, the paper reported.