Lower Burrell Mayor Rich Callender withdraws from race for 54th state House seat
In December, Lower Burrell Mayor Rich Callender said he’d be throwing his hat in the ring for a seat in the state Legislature this year.
On Wednesday, he announced he was picking his hat back up.
At the end of City Council’s meeting Wednesday, Callender said he was withdrawing himself from consideration for the Democratic nomination for the 54th Legislative District.
Callender said he and his family had made the decision.
“I plan on being your mayor for the next two years — and after that, if I get elected, another four,” he said.
The seat is currently held by state Rep. Eli Evankovich, a Republican from Murrysville. Evankovich announced in December 2016, shortly after being elected to a fourth, two-year term, that he would not seek re-election in 2018.
Evankovich has held the seat since 2010, when he defeated Democratic incumbent John Pallone.
In the Alle-Kiski Valley, the 54th District includes Allegheny Township, Fawn, Harrison, Lower Burrell, Upper Burrell and West Deer, as well as Murrysville, Export and Penn Township in Westmoreland County.
Callender said his decision to not run was not related to any health concerns. He had a double lung transplant in 2015.
He said he is disenchanted with politics, in both Harrisburg and Washington, D.C.
He said politicians expect people to be either on the right or the left, when 95 percent fall in the middle.
“They don’t understand where the majority of the population stands,” he said.
Callender said he sees Lower Burrell as being on a “good path,” and it’s something he wants to continue.
“I see us moving forward in Lower Burrell,” he said. “I want to continue the trend we’ve had so far.”
In July, Michael Korns, a Republican from Murrysville, said he would be running for the seat. An attorney, Korns chairs the Westmoreland GOP committee.