The 28th Senate District race already is turning ugly more than a year before the election.

It's a particularly bad sign, considering only one candidate has announced officially he intends to seek retiring state Sen. Mike Waugh's seat.

That candidate, Penn Waste owner Scott Wagner, called a meeting with news organizations earlier this week to address an anonymous package sent to 16 people, including two reporters.

It contained a copy of a protection from abuse petition filed in 2006 -- and later dropped -- by Wagner's daughter, as well as records of Wagner's years-long divorce proceedings.

Flanked by his daughter and divorce attorney, Wagner felt compelled to defend himself against what he called a smear campaign.

He didn't mince words.

"This is a very chicken-s--- thing that somebody did," Wagner said. "Very cowardly. ... This is all about trashing someone during politics and I'm notgoing to engage in this, honestly."

Wagner said he suspects the documents were sent because of his support of Common Pleas Judge Michael Flannelly, who's opposing former U.S. Rep. Todd Platts for the seat on the bench.

In addition to contributing more than $130,000 to Flannelly's campaign, Wagner also was highly critical of Platts' time in Congress.

Last spring, Wagner himself even distributed a political email to about 7,000 people, calling Platts "York County's Pension Poster Person" and citing his government benefitsas an example of "lifelong leeching by legislators."


But at least Wagner put his name on it, unlike the anonymous person who distributed information about him.

Because he did, Platts was able to call him out when some of the information he provided proved to be false.

Wagner -- who disputed some of the details in the documents provided about him but declined to be specific -- doesn't have that opportunity.

And he's right, it is cowardly.

Hopefully, this won't set the tone of the race, because York County voters deserve better.

The 95th is the only state Senate district located entirely in the county, and the vacant seat is sure to attract more candidates.

They should spend the time between now and the election addressing the issues and offering solutions -- not fending off anonymous personal attacks.