Democrat from McKeesport to run in Mon Valley’s 35th District
A Democratic Party leader and assistant to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will run in 2018 for a state House seat soon to be vacated by disgraced Rep. Marc Gergely.
Austin Davis, 27, of McKeesport announced his candidacy Tuesday.
Davis is vice chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee and serves as Fitzgerald’s executive assistant. A party official said he’s a lock to win the party’s endorsement and primary nomination.
“His reputation precedes this run,” said Nancy Mills, who chairs the committee. “He’s favored, and he has the support of probably 95 percent of the committee chairs and the committee people. He’s highly regarded, and I’m sure he will be our nominee.”
She said no other Democratic candidates have surfaced. Ryan Rabea, executive director of the Allegheny County Republican Committee, said it is too early to comment on potential GOP candidates.
Gergely, 48, a White Oak Democrat representing the 35th District in eastern Allegheny County, pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy and accepting illegal campaign contributions. He is expected to vacate his seat after his sentencing Nov. 6. A special election will be held next year.
Davis, who has been involved in civic and political circles since high school, said he would work hard to improve conditions in the Mon Valley.
“I think we’re at a unique time in our trajectory and we need a strong candidate to advocate for our district,” he said, adding that he plans to start fundraising immediately. “We will raise and have the resources we need to be extremely competitive and win.”
In high school, Davis founded and served as chairman of the McKeesport Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council.
He is a University of Pittsburgh graduate with a bachelor’s degree in political science.
He served on Fitzgerald’s visioning and transition teams, heads constituent services for the county executive and serves as his liaison with municipal and elected officials. He also represents Fitzgerald on county boards and foundations. His civic involvement includes serving on the boards of the Adonai Center for Black Males, Small Seeds Development Inc. and the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School.