Voters in state Senate District 37 will choose between Democrat Pam Iovino and GOP’s D. Raja |

Voters in state Senate District 37 will choose between Democrat Pam Iovino and GOP’s D. Raja

Pam Iovino
D. Raja

Democrat Pam Iovino and Republican D. Raja will face off during the April 2 special election for the empty state Senate seat in the 37th District.

The seat was left empty when Guy Reschenthaler, 35, of Peters Township, Washington County, bested retired auto industry executive Bibiana Boerio, 64, of Unity, Westmoreland County, in November in the 14th Congressional District race.

Iovino, of Mt. Lebanon, served 23 years in the Navy and previously served as assistant secretary at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I am so honored to accept the Democratic nomination for State Senate District 37,” Iovino wrote in a statement on her campaign Facebook page.

Iovino won the nomination with 137 votes. Bob Solomon received 115 votes, but requested the vote be recorded as unanimous afterward, said Brandon Cwalina, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

Olivia Benson dropped out of the race before the vote and announced she plans to run for state auditor general in 2020.

A vote of the state Democratic Party’s executive committee is still needed to certify the recommendation.

“Once the candidate reaches 26 votes, they officially become the nominee, and we expect an official nominee by tomorrow,” Cwalina said.

Raja, also of Mt. Lebanon, currently serves as the chairman for the Allegheny County Republican Committee. He is a co-founder of the software company CEI, or Computer Enterprises Inc., in Robinson.

“THANK YOU to all the conferees who voted for me. I am honored and humbled. We are ready to win — and I will not let you down,” Raja said on his campaign Twitter page.

Details of the Republican vote weren’t immediately available Sunday night.

The 37th District includes much of Allegheny County’s southern and western and suburbs, among them Bethel Park, Mt. Lebanon, Bridgeville, Moon Township, Upper St. Clair, Sewickley, Jefferson Hills, and Peters Township in Washington County.

Pennsylvania has held at least eight special elections in the past year.