Republican PA senator retires, leaving another opening in chamber


Republican Pennsylvania Sen. Don White announced on Tuesday that he will retire at the end of February, leaving a third vacancy in a chamber where the GOP majority recently shrank.

White, 69, of Indiana County, has served in the Senate since 2001, most recently holding leadership roles on the Banking & Insurance and Law & Justice Committees.

A member of the National Rifle Association, he has, among other issues, pushed for legislation that would allow school districts to create their own policies on whether some employees should be allowed to carry guns on school grounds.

The senator said on the floor Tuesday afternoon that he has been “back and forth” on whether to retire for the “better part of a year.” His seat was set to come up for election again in 2020.

“When I came here, I was 50 years old, and I felt like I was 30,” he said, adding later: “But now, I’m 69 and I feel like I’m 89.”

White’s district includes parts of Armstrong, Butler, Indiana, and Westmoreland Counties. Data from the Pennsylvania Department of State show that Republicans have a roughly 25,000 lead in voter registration over Democrats in the district.

White’s resignation will leave three seats open in the chamber — leaving Republicans with 26 seats, and Democrats with 21. Democrats gained five seats in the Senate after a strong showing in the Philadelphia suburbs in the November election.

Earlier this month, Sen. Richard Alloway, a Republican from Franklin County, announced plans to retire effective Feb. 28.

One other seat remains open because former State Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, a Republican from Allegheny County, was elected to Congress. A special election to replace him is scheduled for early April.