Date set for special state House election to replace Marc Gergely |
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Wes Venteicher
State Rep. Marc Gergely

A special election will be held Jan. 23 to fill the vacancy created by former state Rep. Marc Gergely’s resignation, House Speaker Mike Turzai said Thursday.

Gergely, a Democrat from White Oak, pleaded guilty in August to two misdemeanor charges related to his role in an illegal gambling machine ring. He resigned Nov. 6 and is awaiting sentencing.

Republicans and Democrats will each select a nominee to place on the special election ballot, Turzai said.

Gergely was first elected to the 35th legislative district seat in 2002. He won re-election by about 42 percentage points in 2014, a year after his name was linked to the gambling ring; and by about 25 points last November, eight months after he was charged for his role in it.

A state grand jury presentment said Gergely used his position and influence to try to calm jittery business owners who were leery about putting gambling machines owned by Ronald “Porky” Melocchi in their businesses. Melocchi’s gambling ring was worth more than $1 million when authorities raided it in 2013. He was sentenced last year to 10 years of probation.

The 35th legislative district includes McKeesport, Munhall, White Oak, Clairton, Duquesne, Versailles, Whitaker, Lincoln, South Versailles and part of West Mifflin.

Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676, [email protected] or via Twitter @wesventeicher.

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