PENNSYLVANIA LEGISLATURE Lawmaker's monthlong bout with hiccups subsides

The representative has been handling paperwork from his bed.
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- State Rep. Larry Roberts appears to have a handle on a chronic case of hiccups, which has afflicted him for about a month.
"I'm doing fine but I expect to be here for another week or so," Roberts told the Tribune-Review of Greensburg by e-mail from his hospital bed in Pittsburgh. "Yes, the hiccups have pretty much subsided."
Roberts has been hospitalized at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Presbyterian hospital since July 19 so doctors could try to determine the cause of the problem.
He has handled paperwork from his bed and canceled eight town meetings in his 51st District, about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh.
Roberts, a six-term, Democratic state lawmaker, is running for re-election in November against Republican Harry E. Albert III and independent candidates Timothy S. Mahoney and Gary Gearing.
The race has been tainted by allegations that Roberts tried to recruit a spoiler candidate to siphon votes from Mahoney, who was later removed from the Democratic primary ballot. Roberts beat Mahoney, who ran a write-in campaign, by 865 votes.
In April, high school dropout Michael A. Ciampanelli testified before the Fayette County Elections Board that Roberts paid him $100 to sign blank nominating petitions and a state ethics form and promised to pay him another $100 in the future. Ciampanelli dropped out of the April 27 primary.
The Fayette County Elections Board said it lacked authority to remove Roberts from the primary ballot, but asked county prosecutors to investigate.
Mahoney was knocked off the ballot by a challenge in Commonwealth Court by Roberts, who said Mahoney's financial disclosure form wasn't in order.
The state attorney general is probing the allegations of election fraud.

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