HARRISBURG - A special election has been scheduled for Feb. 1 to fill the seat held by State Rep. Robert C. Donatucci, whose district included parts of Philadelphia and Delaware County.

Donatucci, who represented the 185th Legislative District in the House for 32 years, died Nov. 9.

"By calling a special election in early February, we will ensure that the citizens of the 185th are not without representation for an extended period of time," House Speaker Keith McCall (D., Carbon) said Thursday. "Also, it allows sufficient time for candidates to come forward and engage the electorate."

Two possible Democratic contenders have emerged so far, according to U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the city's Democratic chairman. They are Maria Donatucci, the representative's widow, and Richard Womack, a Darby Township commissioner.

The district includes parts of South and Southwest Philadelphia, Darby Township, Darby Borough, and Colwyn.

A caucus of the district's ward leaders is expected sometime after Thanksgiving, said Philadelphia Register of Wills Ronald R. Donatucci, one of the ward leaders in his late brother's district.

The winner of the election will take office after the results are certified and serve almost a full two-year term.