EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — From Your Local Election Headquarters, a battle is brewing in the 27th Senate District Special Election that hits home for several counties, including Northumberland and parts of Luzerne.

The special election is less than one week away and on Wednesday, Eyewitness News Reporter Madonna Mantione sat down with both candidates to learn more about their platforms and a local political analyst to discuss the big picture.

“They have to hone their message, and they have to rely on turnout,” said Political Analyst David Yonki.

The 27th Senate District Special Election is set for Tuesday, January 31.

Two female candidates are vying for the seat which was vacated by Republican Senator John Gordner last November. Gordner held the position since 2003.

“I’ve served in the House for the last 12 years,” said Lynda Schlegel Culver, Republican Candidate for Pennsylvania’s 27th Senatorial District.

The Northumberland County resident has represented the 108th Legislative District for more than a decade and won her seventh two-year term in November.

“I’ve represented half of these communities already, I have roots in Columbia County because I went to school at Bloomsburg University, graduated from there, and helped cover some of their human services so I thought I’m going to offer the voters my experience, my cultivated relationships over the years, and their trust that I’ll be able to bring these communities together and strengthen them,” said Culver.

Culver discussed the pillars of her campaign, including investing in infrastructure and generating local business.

“I believe in investing in people, and that is a solid education, whether it be mental health services, drug and alcohol supports for families, it’s really important for me that we give people a strong foundation,” said Culver.

Patricia Lawton is the Democratic Candidate on the ballot.

“I’ve been a longtime speech-language pathologist,” said Lawton.

The Columbia County resident has worked in higher education for more than a decade.

Lawton is a volunteer with many community organizations and serves as Hemlock Township’s Judge of Elections.

“I’ve been somebody that’s championed the voices of others in our area, and I felt like this was just another way for me to serve, to bring the voices of the people in our region to Harrisburg, to maybe provide insight, especially around education and the barriers that our children growing up face,” said Lawton.

Lawton shared the goals of her campaign, including strengthening the economy and protecting women’s rights.

“I want to see us finally fund education through that fair funding so that we can provide a solid foundation from early childhood, all he way up, for folks, as this really is the foundation of what they’re going to do regardless of what career or job they choose,” said Lawton.

Yonki shared some insight into special elections.

“The turnout is always very low mainly because of the fact that number one they’re short notice and number two the people may not be aware that there’s even an election,” said Yonki.

The 27th Senatorial District covers all of Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, and Snyder counties, and parts of Luzerne County.