May 24, 2022 | 12:54 p.m
Mastriano, R-Franklin, was sacked last year after officials concluded he had shared information that was supposed to be confidential.
Marc Levy/The Associated Press
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(Harrisburg) — The aftermath of last week’s primary has played out in the Pennsylvania General Assembly over the past few days, including the punishment of two lawmakers who have been working to impeach counterparts.
In the Senate, GOP gubernatorial candidate Sen. Doug Mastriano was allowed back into the behind-closed-doors sessions of the Republican faction on Monday. Mastriano, R-Franklin, was sacked last year after officials concluded he had shared information that was supposed to be confidential.
“It was a leadership decision,” said Jason Thompson, spokesman for President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, who requested the nomination against Mastriano. “There are members of the caucus who have asked that he be added back to caucus discussions. We evaluated that, our leadership team evaluated that and made the decision to add him back.”
Thompson said Mastriano was made aware of the decision a few weeks ago, but Monday was the first gathering since then. A message seeking comment from Mastriano was left with his Capitol staff on Tuesday.
Republican House leaders stripped Rep. Mike Jones of several committee duties after his primary campaign work in York County helped beat Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor and longtime Rep. Keith Gillespie. Republican Rep. Dave Zimmerman also lost committee seats over a similar effort in Lancaster County.
Saylor’s loss to Wendy Jo Fink creates an opportunity for an ambitious colleague, as the Appropriations majority chairman has significant influence over state spending decisions. So far, there’s no sign House Republicans will replace Saylor before his term ends later this year.
Senate Republicans could face a similar problem as Appropriations leader Pat Browne, R-Lehigh, is locked in a close race for the nomination and potentially losing re-election.
The state budget, due on July 1, will be the focus of state lawmakers for the next five weeks. Grant Chairs control much larger staff and expenses than ordinary members.
Dozens of incumbents chose not to seek another term this year after the decennial new district process made changes to district maps across the state.
Last week, voters sent home additional sitting lawmakers, with primary losses coming from the Democratic Reps. Martell Covington of Allegheny County, Pam DeLissio of Phialdelphia and Brian Kirkland of Delaware County; and Republican Mike Puskaric south of Pittsburgh and Jason Silvis in Westmoreland County.
Legislators were seated together in primary elections in three districts: Republican Rep. Ryan Mackenzie beat Rep. Gary Day in Lehigh County; Republican Rep. Perry Stambaugh beat Rep. Johnathan Hershey northwest of Harrisburg; and Democratic Rep. Chris Rabb defeated Rep. Isabella Fitzgerland in Philadelphia.
In the Philadelphia suburbs, the Pocono Mountains, the Pittsburgh area and Reading, campaign strategists are poring over early results to see what they propose about the fall campaign. Republicans have a solid margin of majority in both houses, but the legislative reshuffle is widely expected to give Democrats a boost in an otherwise pro-GOP national political environment.