Vulakovich beats Hart for run at Orie’s seat
From the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette:
By Timothy McNulty / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
State Rep. Randy Vulakovich is getting a chance to replace another disgraced North Hills state politician, while former congresswoman Melissa Hart’s political career has suffered another stinging blow.
More than 80 Allegheny and Butler county Republican officials met at a Cranberry hotel Saturday morning to pick their nominee for the state Senate seat formerly held by Jane Orie of McCandless, who was sentenced June 4 on public corruption charges. After four rounds of votes, three hours and speeches by 10 candidates, Mr. Vulakovich, of Shaler, was the party’s pick.
Ms. Hart, from Bradford Woods, had been working party officials for weeks. Mr. Vulakovich, an ally of House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, had entered the intraparty race just a week before. He will now face Democratic nominee Sharon Brown, a health care consultant from McCandless, in the special 40th District election Aug. 7.
“People are looking so much toward government, and the things we need to do to just correct our course we’ve been following here for a long time,” an emotional Mr. Vulakovich said after the vote. “It certainly hasn’t gotten us to the right spot.”
Orie’s name was hardly mentioned in the three-hour meeting.
Special elections in Pennsylvania do not afford enough time to pick nominees through primaries so the choices are left to the Democratic and Republican party machinery instead.
Republicans picked 81 conferees from the 40th District, making 42 votes — a majority plus one — needed to win the nomination. On the first ballot Mr. Vulakovich won 29 votes to Ms. Hart’s 18, with the rest to several other candidates. On the third ballot, he was one short of winning. By the fourth he bested Ms. Hart 48 votes to 33.
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