Two candidates are already throwing their names in the hat after the longest-serving member of Erie County’s legislative delegation says he will be retiring.

These candidates want to replace Curt Sonney. The positioned has been occupied by him since 2004.

The 4th District is a relatively safe Republican zone, that’s according to Mercyhurst University Political Science Professor Dr. Joe Morris.

“In the coming years, it appears that is not going to change at all. The likelihood that we will see a Democrat elected from this district is very slim.” said Dr. Joe Morris, Mercyhurst University.

Morris says the fact that Sonney held the position for 18 years is remarkable.

“George H.W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, once said when it comes to governing a democracy, a dictatorship would undoubtedly be easier. The fact that a representative managed to get 18 years of public service in, and survive that with his reputation that he has, I think that is really commendable.” Morris said.

Republican Greg Hayes, who ran in 2020 against Ryan Bizzarro, is looking to take over for Sonney in 2022.

“Once he decided to resign, we want to keep conservative normal thought in this area, and try to bring some new growth and new jobs into this area.” said Greg Hayes, 4th Legislative District Candidate.

Joe Cancilla is also eyeing the position.

“Growing up with my family, with the homeless shelter, helping people. I know politics is about making laws and legislating, but it comes down to helping people and I have always been interested in my local community.” said Joe Cancilla, 4th Legislative District Candidate.

Morris adds that most people in the state of Pennsylvania seem to think having a more balanced district is better.

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The 4th Legislative District includes most of Eastern Erie County. Curt Sonney will officially retire at the end of the 2021-2022 Legislative Session.