State House Democratic Candidate Passes Away Before Elections

Novalea Verno and Nicholas Spallone

Ed Giannattasio, the Democratic candidate to represent Columbia County died yesterday morning at the age of 64. He had a recurrence of multiple myeloma which led to his poor health.

Mr. Giannattasio recently pulled out of a debate held in conjunction by the College Republicans, Political Science Student Association (PSSA), and University Democrats due to health concerns. Tom Anderson, the Libertarian candidate, was left the sole representative of any candidate in that debate after Robert Leadbeter was a no-show and subsequently accused the debate of being unfairly held.

What does this mean for elections?

For those who have not yet voted, the deceased candidate will still be on the ballot and still is a valid option. If Ed Giannattasio is elected, a special election will occur to instead find his replacement. State legislation follow what they call the “American Rule” for elections, which means they don’t throw out votes for dead candidates, and they don’t give the office to the runner up. According to sources, Giannattasio’s campaign is still pushing for voters to still write him in on the ballot and push for a special election or to write the vote for Tom Anderson instead.

For those who have voted, there is no need to worry – your ballot will still count for the choice you selected and there is no way it would be discredited if you had chosen Mr. Giannattasio as candidate.