Republican State Rep. Jeff Pyle Retires, Special Election Scheduled

Pennsylvania state Rep. Jeff Pyle (R-Armstrong) speaks at a rally in the state Capitol Rotunda on April 30, 2018 in Harrisburg. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

By The Keystone Staff

March 18, 2021

The special election is the fourth to be scheduled for May 18.

ARMSTRONG COUNTY — Republican State Rep. Jeff Pyle retired from the state Legislature without advance notice on Tuesday, citing health issues as the reason for his retirement.

He has been battling cancer since 2017 and suffered a stroke in 2020.

“It has been a privilege to serve the residents of the 60th Legislative District for more than 16 years but it’s time to now put my health first,” Pyle said in a written statement from the Pennsylvania House GOP.

The 60th state House District is currently without representation.

A special election to fill the seat, which represents Armstrong, Butler, and Indiana counties, will be held on May 18, the day of the state primary election.

Pyle was first elected to the state House in 2004. He was just reelected in November, after he ran uncontested in the general election.

Pyle faced calls for his resignation and “tens of thousands of heated emails” in January after shared a meme on Facebook mocking the appearance of Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender women who has been nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as the US Assistant Secretary of Health. Levine served as the state Secretary of Health until her nomination.

Pyle declined to resign at that time.

Other Special Elections

A special election for the 59th state House District seat is also scheduled for May 18. The seat has been vacant since early January, when state Rep. Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland) died of an apparent brain aneurysm about a month after he publicly disclosed that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Republicans hold a 113-90 majority in the House, counting those two seats as Republicans.

There are also two special elections on May 18 for Senate seats: One is due to the Jan. 17 death from brain cancer of Lebanon County Republican Sen. Dave Arnold. The other is because of the retirement of Lackawanna County Sen. John Blake. Blake announced last month he was quitting to take a job working for Democratic US Rep. Matt Cartwright in Scranton.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.


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