First, congratulations to Eugene DePasquale, the first York County resident elected to statewide office since Gov. George Leader in the 1950s.

He was part of a Democratic sweep of Pennsylvania's row offices on Election Day. Along with Attorney General-elect Kathleen Kane and Treasurer Rob McCord, who won a second term, DePasquale will help balance the power of Gov. Tom Corbett and the Republican-controlled Legislature in Harrisburg.

That's no small feat, but DePasquale actually had more to celebrate when all the votes were counted. He also was re-elected to the 95th House seat he's held since 2007.

That detail is the only thing tempering our enthusiasm for what we believe will be a fine performance as auditor general.

DePasquale ran for both offices, while making clear he'd accept the statewide position if he won both.

Now a special election must be held to fill the 95th House seat, which might not be held until the next primary. In that case the heavily Democratic district, which includes York City and parts of surrounding municipalities, will not be represented from January until April.

But that's not the most unsettling aspect of the process.

Voters will have no input regarding the nominees, who will be selected instead by York County's Democratic and Republican parties.


Democratic Party officials and DePasquale are said to have had preliminary discussions with community members who would "be a good fit" and are willing to serve. The party's executive committee will whittle the list to one and submit it to the state's Democratic committee for approval, said Chad Baker, director of communications and marketing.

A state committee isn't involved in the process on the Republican side. Bob Wilson, who heads the York County Republican Party, said a few Republicans have expressed interest in the 95th. Committee members from the district will vote for a candidate, who will then be placed on the ballot for the special election.

We get it -- this is how special elections work. And when we think of the need to fast-track a replacement, some legitimate reasons come to mind -- the elected official died, was convicted or maybe appointed to cabinet position.

We do not think the electorate should be excluded from an important part of the process because a politician wanted to cover all his bases.

Our newly elected U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, for instance, decided not to seek re-election to the 92nd House District when he set his sights on Congress. He didn't think it was fair to the constituents of the 92nd.

DePasquale has done a great job in the state House, and he should have capped off that legacy by bowing out when he decided to seek higher office. It turns out he didn't really need a fall-back plan anyway -- he won the auditor general office by a comfortable margin in a three-way race.

But since we do find ourselves facing a special election, the two political parties in York County should do everything they can to involve the residents of the 95th District in the nominating process.

That means letting everyone know who is interested in the seat and holding public interviews with the contenders.

It should not be done behind closed doors.