Ah, the Orie saga. Laura Olson and I have the latest on how the now-empty 40th state Senate seat may be filled this year:
Republican Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, who presides over the Senate, has 10 days to schedule a special election.
While balloting could be held as early as late July -- or delayed to the general election Nov. 6 -- local Republicans are eyeing Aug. 21 as their preferred date. By that time, schools hosting polling places would be open again and the election would not interfere with the national political conventions, which kick off Aug. 27 with the Republican gathering in Tampa, Fla.
Local officials from both parties will pick their nominees for the special election. The Republican nominee will be picked by 55 committee members and party activists from Allegheny County and 29 from Butler County in a meeting tentatively set for early to mid-June in Gibsonia.
About 10 Republicans currently are interested in the seat, said Allegheny County GOP chairman Jim Roddey.
The best known is former congresswoman Melissa Hart of Bradford Woods, who held the 40th District seat for a decade before joining Congress in 2001.
Other possible candidates include: Allison Park attorney Chris Abernathy; Doug Austin of Austin cleaning products in Mars; former North Allegheny school director Scott Cunningham; Allegheny County Councilman Matt Drozd; McCandless committee chairman Bill Kirk; North Hills school director Jeff Meyer; Butler County committee vice chair Robin Redding; Allegheny County GOP treasurer Karen Shaheen; and lobbyist Rob Vescio of Franklin Park.
The Democratic pick is made by committee members in the district before ratification by the state Democratic Committee. Dan DeMarco of Ross, who lost to Ms. Orie in 2010, is thought to be the main candidate.