Opinion: A life lesson from these midterm elections NPR's Scott Simon reflects on several electoral races in which candidates were posthumously elected.

Opinion: A life lesson from these midterm elections

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Several candidates who won their races in these 2022 midterm elections will not be able to serve for a sound, but unfortunate, reason. They are dead. We should quickly explain there is no scandal between campaigns for local, state and federal offices - judges, prosecutors, county board, city councils, coroners and more. There are thousands of candidates on ballots across the country. I hope it doesn't sound callous to note that the odds are not all of them will make it to Election Day. Some may die after ballots are printed or even after voting has begun.

State Representative Tony DeLuca of Allegheny County, Pa., the longest-serving member in the state's House of Representatives, won more than 85% of the vote in his district. But Mr. DeLuca died in early October from lymphoma at the age of 85. A special election to fill his seat will be held in a few weeks. While we're incredibly saddened by the loss of Representative Tony DeLuca, the Pennsylvania House Democratic Campaign Committee said in a tweet this week, we are proud to see the voters continue to show their confidence in him and his commitment to Democratic values by reelecting him posthumously. Tennessee State Representative Barbara Cooper was reelected to represent House District 86, a seat she's held since 1996. But Rep. Cooper died last month at the age of 93. A special election will also be held for that seat.

But there is controversy in Chula Vista, Calif. Simon Silva currently has a 149-vote lead over Dan Smith in the contest for city attorney. Dan Smith contends the local Democratic Party was disingenuous to continue to send out campaign literature for Mr. Silva, who died of cancer in September at the age of 56. It was too late to legally remove his name from the ballot. I think they did a disservice to members of their party by not informing them, Mr. Smith told ABC10 News in San Diego. My frustration is nothing compared to their frustration once they found out today that Mr. Silva has passed away, and they voted for him. A special election will be held in Chula Vista, which officials estimate will cost between a million and $2 million.

Candidates make many promises, sincere and otherwise, in hopes of being elected. But the passing of people who look forward to serving might remind us that some forces in life are just beyond the power of any promises we make.

(SOUNDBITE OF WHITNEY SONG, "FTA")

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