Republican Dave Arnold has been elected to fill the remainder of the term vacated by former state Senator Michael Folmer.

Arnold is now set to represent Senate District 48, which contains all of Lebanon County and parts of Dauphin and York counties, through 2022.

Arnold has been Lebanon County DA since January 2006. In October, he won the GOP nomination for the special election to replace Folmer.

Folmer resigned in September over child pornography charges by the state Attorney General. Folmer, who pleaded not guilty, is expected to go on trial in the Lebanon County Court of Common Pleas next month.

Arnold faced Democratic nominee Michael Schroeder, who called Arnold to concede shortly before 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday night.

The Pennsylvania Department of State reports that Arnold received 18,228 votes and Schroeder received 9,945 votes. Results were closer in Dauphin and York Counties, compared to Lebanon County where Arnold carried with a nearly 2:1 margin. The Department of State indicated that it had 112 out of 112 districts reporting.

Department of State Date as of 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15

  • Dauphin County
    • Arnold: 2,922 votes
    • Schroeder: 2,034 votes
  • Lebanon County
    • Arnold: 12,418 votes
    • Schroeder: 5,878 votes
  • York
    • Arnold: 2,888 votes
    • Schroeder: 2,033 votes

According to the Pennsylvania Capital-Star, the district has been in GOP hands since the 1960s.

In Lebanon County, turnout was reported as 21.6%, or 18,444 total votes out of 85,505 registered voters. 116 write-in votes were cast. Precinct-level results can be seen here (PDF). For comparison, turnout was 21.30% in the 2019 primary election and 28.99% in the 2019 municipal election.

Turnout data was not immediately available for Dauphin and York counties.

Read More: County to vote on new state Senator in Tuesday SD-48 special election

“I don’t even know what to say,” said Arnold as he addressed the assembled crowd at the Lincoln Republican Club on Tuesday night after Schroeder had conceded. Arnold thanked Corman and other elected officials in attendance and said he was looking forward to learning from them and working together.

“I’m ready to go right now,” joked Arnold. “We’ll go up there tonight and get working.”

“It’s been such an incredible journey. I’ve been DA for 14 years… I love being DA, it’s a great job… and when this opportunity came up, one of the parts of being a DA that I love is the ability to help people – Crime victims and have a positive impact on their lives,” said Arnold.

“When this came up, I viewed it as a chance to have a positive impact on even more people’s lives, and that’s what I really want to do. My ambition is to work for our community and I think I can do a good job.”

According to ABC 27 reporter Alex Peterson, Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-SD34) was also in attendance on Tuesday night, where Corman shared news that Tuesday happened to be the date of Arnold’s last radiation treatment. Arnold had taken a pause from the campaign trail in November following surgery for a malignant brain tumor.

With Arnold’s election, Lebanon County will also receive a new District Attorney – attorney Pier Hess, who was elevated to First Asst. DA in November. State law stipulates that the First Asst. DA automatically becomes the DA unless he or she is “unwilling to serve.”

ABC 27’s Peterson reported that Corman said Arnold could be confirmed as early as Jan. 27.

In a message posted to the Schroeder campaign page, campaign manager Nathan Lund confirmed that Schoreder had conceded the race and noted that, “Michael did stress that this is not an ending for him. Stay tuned.”

“Special Elections are always unpredictable, but because of the excellent campaign run by Senator-Elect Arnold, Senate Republicans will now enjoy a 29 to 21 seat majority over the Democrats,” said Lawrence Tabas Chairman of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania in a press release sent last night. “We congratulate him on his victory today.”

Arnold had been endorsed by the NRA, the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, among other groups. Schroeder had been endorsed by the American Postal Workers Union Local 1566, U.S. Term Limits, and Food and Water Action.

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Full Disclosure: The campaigns of Dave Arnold and Michael Schroeder are advertisers on LebTown at present. LebTown does not make editorial decisions based on advertising relationships and advertisers do not receive special editorial treatment. Learn more about advertising with LebTown here.


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