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Lawmakers In Harrisburg Expected To Approve Constitutional Amendment To Change The Way Lieutenant Governors Are Chosen

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) -- John Fetterman could be the last person nominated by the voters to be lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania.

Lawmakers in Harrisburg are poised to approve a Constitutional amendment to change the way lieutenant governors are chosen.

Only eight states pick a lieutenant governor the way we do in Pennsylvania -- a separate primary election to choose the party's candidate who is then forced to team up with the candidate for governor in his or her party.

They then face the voters as a ticket in November, and it's not always a compatible one.

Remember Governor Tom Wolf's first lieutenant governor? Lt. Gov. Mike Stack allegedly abused his staff so much that the governor took his employees away from him.

"It wasn't a good partnership and yet they were in the same party," says Mike DeVanney, a political strategist who generally works with Republican candidates.

That's not an isolated instance.

"Ed Rendell and Catherine Baker Knoll – that was not his pick, and she was left just sitting there," said DeVanney.

"Sometimes, lieutenant governors really matter. Mark Singel had to take over for Bob Casey for quite a while when Governor Casey was so ill," Pa. Sen. Dave Argall, a Schuylkill County Republican, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.

Governors need a full partner, says Argall, who has authored a Constitutional amendment that would allow the gubernatorial candidate to pick a running-mate just like presidential nominees do.

"This Constitutional amendment would really be a step forward in just simple, good government," says Argall.

Subject to the approval of their state party committees, each nominee for governor would pick someone to run with them in November. But not everyone agrees. Some say it's important that voters pick both parties' nominees to be second-in-command.

The amendment has had strong bipartisan support in the past. If it passes the General Assembly this spring as expected, it will be on the November ballot for the voters to decide.

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