Chris Gebhard has won his first full, four-year term as senator for the 48th district.

The 48th senate district includes Lebanon County and portions of Berks and Lancaster counties. Until recently, the district covered Lebanon County and parts of York and Dauphin counties, but the boundaries shifted when voting maps were redrawn for redistricting.

“Serving in the State Senate is an honor and a responsibility that I do not take lightly,” Gebhard told LebTown in an email Thursday afternoon. “I am humbled and excited to continue representing our neighbors, families and the countless businesses throughout the new 48th District.”

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Gebhard, a Republican, retains the seat he won in last year’s special election to fill a seat left vacant by the death of state Senator Dave Arnold, who died in office in January 2021.

In the midterm election on Nov. 8, Gebhard faced Calvin “Doc” Clements, the same Democratic challenger who opposed him in 2021. However, Clements was again unable to overcome the Republican majority.

According to poll tallies, Gebhard received 73,508 votes, or 68.9% of the total, while Clements received 33,245 votes, or 31.1%.

Read More: Lebanon County 2022 general election results

“Essentially, this was the same race a year ago, so I am not surprised by the outcome,” Gebhard said. “In fact, I see it as a compliment of our team in terms of the job that we have done over these last 18 months. It’s just a directive from the electorate that we need to continue to keep doing the job that we started last year.”

His top priorities in the next legislative session, he said, include the continued fight “for a less intrusive and smaller state government, fiscal restraint when it comes to spending taxpayer money and more common sense, which is badly needed, in Harrisburg.”

“I am also excited about the progress we made this year in starting a personal finance class for high school students and am looking forward to getting that across the finish line next year. I truly believe it will be a valuable skill for our next generation of students.”

Gebhard said, going into the midterms this year, it was hard to predict how things would go in the state and national races.

“Nationally, it seems like we are heading towards split party government, which is something that Americans have historically seemed to be in favor,” he said. “As far as Pennsylvania, we all knew the General Assembly races would be unpredictable considering how much the maps changed due to last year’s redistricting commission.”

Clements isn’t giving up

Clements told LebTown his chances of ousting Gebhard were always slim, especially in light of redistricting. With the Republican strongholds of Berks and Lancaster counties added to Lebanon’s GOP-leaning voters, he said, Democrats make up just 27 percent of the district’s population.

“I knew going in that it was an impossible win,” he said, “but in my opinion an uncontested race was ridiculous.”

Calvin “Doc” Clements

Clements, a retired veterinarian, said he was frustrated at the polls, where he spoke to voters who didn’t know the name of their state senator going in and didn’t believe the state Legislature was giving itself hefty pay raises over the next year. “I was told multiple times that I was lying,” he said. Clements also complained that media outlets in the area give an unfair amount of coverage to Republican politicians while snubbing Democrats. “It is obvious they bow to their rein of power and financial influence,” he said.

Read More: Retired veterinarian Doc Clements makes another run for state Legislature

But Clements, who campaigned largely on what he calls the Republican-controlled state Legislature’s failure to fix the economy, said he isn’t giving up.

“I am still going to devote my energy to repairing the corruption, abuse of power and failure to produce in the legislature,” he said in an email. “Although, I will likely find a younger surrogate to carry the flag.”

“To my opponent I say congratulations,” he added, noting he is “ecstatic” over Josh Shapiro’s and John Fetterman’s victories in their races for governor and U.S. senator, respectively.

“The PA House is one win away from flipping so now a bulletproof veto exists and all the amendments are DOA,” Clements said. “Hopefully, it will also dissuade carpetbaggers like Oz and (Mastriano) from bringing their power cravings to PA.”

Republicans anticipated a “red tsunami,” he said. “I have seen bigger ripples.”

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Tom has been a professional journalist for nearly four decades. In his spare time, he plays fiddle with the Irish band Fire in the Glen, and he reviews music, books and movies for Rambles.NET. He lives with his wife, Michelle, and has four children: Vinnie, Molly, Annabelle and Wolf.


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