Republican state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, one of the longest-serving members in Harrisburg, will not seek reelection next year, numerous sources have told City&State PA. Greenleaf has made not yet made an official statement about his reelection. He was queried about his plans for 2018 by City&State PA weeks ago and again on Thursday. He refused comment in both instances.
However, Republicans in Greenleaf’s 12th Senatorial District, which runs across Philadelphia’s northern suburbs, rebutted speculation about his impending retirement – even as they acknowledged those rumors.
“You know, there’s certainly been a lot of discussion about that,” said Montgomery County GOP executive director Jim Saring, of Greenleaf’s retirement. “But so far as we are aware, Senator Greenleaf is seeking reelection, and we look forward to supporting him.”
State GOP chairman Val DiGiorgio said he asked the senator if he intended to stand for reelection over the summer. Greenleaf said he had not yet made up his mind. But privately, top Republicans in Harrisburg and Southeastern PA said the senator would not stand in 2018. Some indicated that behind closed doors, he was positioning his son, Stewart Greenleaf, Jr., a former Montgomery County controller, as a potential successor.
Stewart Greenleaf, Jr., a commercial litigator and shareholder at his father’s law firm, did not respond to a request for comment. He stepped down from his fiscal oversight post in 2015 but left the door open for a future run for office.
“I’m not closing the door on public service,” Greenleaf, Jr. said, two years ago. He has since continued to maintain a campaign-style website left over from his run for controller.
Additionally, several sources said that state Rep. Todd Stephens, of MontCo’s 151st House District, was also determined to run if Greenleaf retires.
“I haven’t heard anything, and I assume (Sen. Greenleaf) is running for reelection,” Stephens said last week. “I know his son, but I haven’t heard anything about Stewart Greenleaf, Jr. running, either.” But when asked about his interest in running for an open 12th Senatorial District seat, Stephens made his ambitions clear.
“I love representing my community in Harrisburg, and I certainly would consider an opportunity to represent a broader swath of Montgomery County if the senator chose not to stand for reelection,” Stephens said.
A onetime assistant district attorney, Greenleaf was elected to the statehouse in 1976, winning a Senate seat in 1979. He currently serves at the chair of the Senate’s powerful Judiciary Committee. He previously ran for U.S. Congress and stood in the 2012 New Hampshire Republican Presidential primary, seeking to draw attention to the federal budget deficit. Greenleaf received 24 votes – good for 21st place in the primary.