Representative John Maher (R-Allegheny County) lost his bid to become the state’s next Auditor General to Democratic Representative Eugene DePasquale (York County), but he kept his seat serving in the PA House.
DePasquale, a Pittsburgh native, beat Maher 49.7 to 46.5 percent. He won with only 168,489 votes.
The Pennsylvania Auditor General is the state’s chief fiscal officer, responsible for overseeing state departments and agencies.
By law, incumbent Auditor General Jack Wagner could not run for a third consecutive 4-year term.
Leading up to Election Day, Maher’s campaign heavily emphasized his experience as a Certified Public Accountant. Campaign Manager Brennan Hart said it only made sense that a accountant should win the Auditor General position.
“Everywhere we go people remember he is the auditor running for auditor general. Everyone seems to know him that way. I think people think that it would be a good idea to have someone actually that knows how to find the waste to fight it in Harrisburg.”
In his concession speech Maher said about a half a million votes for DePasquale came from Philadelphia, with which he couldn’t compete. He said, in the past few days, polls were showing him doing well with likely voters.
“And I think what we saw today was, with this incredible turnout, that the folks who didn’t spend a lot of time making these thoughts weren’t going to bed with us,” said Maher. “And as we’ve always said, anyone who spends one minute thinking about the Auditor General contest was going to vote for us.”
Maher said he is at peace with losing because his team managed to outperform their expectations. He said, with a small budget, they were able to outpace most other Pennsylvania campaigns.
“There are not very many things I’d do differently. I’d be kidding you if I said I would do nothing differently. There are things I learned along the way,” said Maher. “But I consider myself the be one of the most fortunate people in Pennsylvania to have had as many friends and supporters and allies, the people in this room, and the others who lent their shoulder to the cause.”
Maher and DePasquale ran consecutive legislative races alongside their Auditor General runs. Both won their House seats.