Bucking a Republican trend in much of the country, McKeesport’s Democratic Mayor James Brewster defeated two rivals to fill the seat vacated by state Sen. Sean Logan, D-Plum.
“(Gov.-elect Tom) Corbett is going to find out who I am pretty quickly,” Brewster, 62, told supporters Tuesday night at the Palisades in McKeesport. “I assure you, I will take the same work ethic to Harrisburg that I have had here.”
The two-term McKeesport mayor outpolled the combined totals of Republican Paul Olijar of Plum and Libertarian Leonard Young of Monroeville in the special 45th Senatorial District election.
“I’m disappointed,” Olijar conceded. “It looks like it will be politics as usual for the 45th District in Harrisburg.”
Young bolted from the Republican Party after Olijar’s selection, but Olijar said it would not have made a difference in the final numbers.
“I ran a pretty good campaign,” Young said. “I’m proud of the people who worked for me and the people who turned out and voted for me.”
Brewster said he would have preferred Logan staying in Harrisburg but could not dissuade him from resigning.
“We’re going to maintain the momentum he set,” Brewster said. “He had an outstanding staff, which I am assuming.”
Brewster said he’ll maintain Logan’s offices in McKeesport, Monroeville and New Kensington and establish a presence in other communities in a district covering the Mon-Yough and Alle-Kiski valleys.
“One of the first things we will have to work on is bringing all the communities together,” the senator-elect said. “Some of the requirements are different (from town to town but) firms from outside need to understand we are business-friendly in all of those communities.”
Brewster said he expects to spend the next 10 years in Harrisburg, after seven years as mayor in McKeesport, meaning he likely will run for the full four-year term in 2012.
Both Olijar and Young also left open their options to run again for the 45th District seat in 2012.
“If Mr. Brewster is the fiscal conservative he claims to be, which I do not think he is, he better prove it in Harrisburg or I’ll be back in two years and I’ll kick his butt out,” Olijar said.
“I feel very comfortable with what I did,” Young said. “I’d like to pursue some political venture in the future.”
Brewster said he will take himself off the city payroll after he is sworn in as a senator, but will provide McKeesport council with a 2011 budget by the Nov. 15 deadline set in the city’s Home Rule Charter.