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Lots of Jockeying in Philadelphia as Special Election Nears to Fill Pa. House Seats

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A special election will be held on August 11th to fill three vacancies in the Pennsylvania House, and the local Democratic party chief says his phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from potential candidates.

It will be a rare mid-summer special election, to fill three vacancies of Philadelphia seats in the state House.

The head of the local Democratic party, US Rep. Bob Brady, said he's never seen anything like that:

"No.  I've never... I don't think we've had... No."

Two of the vacancies resulted from the resignations of House members -- Ron Waters and Michelle Brownlee -- who have pleaded guilty to corruption charges.  The third came when John Sabatina was elected to fill a vacancy in the state senate.

Brady says ward leaders for both parties will now choose nominees during caucuses, which he expects will conclude by the end of this month.

"The ward leaders will get together and they will vote," Brady explains.  "Each ward leader would vote the amount of divisions that are respectively in his ward, and whoever has the most votes will be the Democratic nominee."

One name that has surfaced for Sabatina's seat is that of Ed Neilson, a current member of City Council who earlier served in the House.  In the May primary Neilson failed to win a nomination to run for Council in the fall.

"If he has an interest to go back into the House again, I'm sure the ward leaders will absolutely entertain that," Brady says, "and I would think that he will probably be a favorite."

Beyond Neilson, Brady says other potential candidates are not household names.

"Nothing prominent.  But that's how you get to be prominent: when you get to be an elected official," Brady notes.

The winners of the August 11th special elections will serve out terms that expire at the end of 2016.

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