Pennsylvania Senate Republicans will swear in Democrat Jim Brewster

Written by on January 13, 2021

Pennsylvania Senate Republicans will swear in Democrat Jim Brewster

By An-Li Herring / WESA

January 13, 2021

Sen. Jim Brewster (D., Allegheny). James Robinson / Pennsylvania Senate Democratic Caucus via WITF

Republicans agreed to swear in Democrat incumbent Rep. Jim Brewster on Jan. 12 after a dispute over a Pittsburgh area state Senate seat that was rejected recently by a federal judge.

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Brewster won the race by just 69 votes. But Republican Nicole Ziccarelli argued that some mail-in ballots shouldn’t have counted because they lacked a handwritten signature. Without those ballots, she would have won, she says, and Republicans refused to seat Brewster when a new session began last week. 

But on Jan. 12, Federal Judge Nicholas Ranjan dismissed the GOP challenge. Democratic lawyer Cliff Levine says the judge affirmed an earlier state court ruling, which said the disputed ballots should be counted. 

“He spent a considerable amount of time really focusing on whether it was appropriate for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision to do what it did. And he said the Supreme Court has given the authority to interpret the new law,” Levine says.

Ziccarelli said in a written statement she would not appeal the decision and that voters should support Brewster.

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