Democratic state House incumbents in Allegheny cruise to victory
State Rep. Jesse White appears to have overcome what he called the “dark days” of his pseudonymous Internet escapades and was leading his Democratic challenger on Tuesday night.
White, 35, of Cecil won 56 percent of the vote with 63 percent of precincts reporting. Tom Casciola, 59, a homebuilder and chairman of Cecil’s board of supervisors, trailed with 44 percent.
“We stuck to a positive message. We stuck to the issues,” said White, who battled back from a 2013 scandal in which he used fake names while attacking critics — including constituents — on Internet message boards. “I think it shows voters are tired of a lot of the negativity, tired of the personal attacks.”
The four-term legislator will face Jason Ortitay, 30, of South Fayette, who was unopposed in the Republican primary.
White’s win capped a good night for Democratic state House incumbents in Allegheny County. Reps. Adam Ravenstahl, Ed Gainey, Dan Deasy and Tony DeLuca each led their challengers. Each entered Election Day with a county Democratic Committee endorsement.
Ravenstahl, 29, of Summer Hill appeared to hold off the progressive coalition backing his opponent, high school teacher and former Avalon councilman Tom Michalow, 43. Ravenstahl, who is seeking a third term, had 53 percent of the vote in the redrawn 20th District to Michalow’s 47 percent with 93 percent of precincts reporting.
Gainey, 44, of Lincoln-Lemington won 86 percent of the vote in a three-way race, beating Todd Elliott Koger, 52, of Wilkinsburg and William Anderson, 41, of Homewood. Koger won 6 percent to Anderson’s 8 percent with 96 percent of precincts reporting. No Republicans filed to challenge Gainey, who first won election in 2012 by ousting a 15-term incumbent, Joe Preston.
One of the longest-serving Western Pennsylvania Democrats, DeLuca all but locked up a 16th term in Harrisburg. DeLuca, 77, of Penn Hills led lawyer Kristopher Wiegand, 38, of Penn Hills 77 percent to 23 percent with 96 percent of precincts reporting. Barring a write-in challenge, DeLuca will be unopposed in November because no Republicans filed to run for the seat.
The election dealt yet another blow to A.J. Richardson’s quest for a political career. Richardson, 37, of Sheraden came in last in the 2013 mayor’s race after being arrested for DUI. This year, police arrested him and his wife for allegedly making phony 911 calls. Richardson trailed Deasy, 47, of Westwood by 84 percent to 15 percent with 96 percent of precincts reporting.
Republican firebrand Daryl Metcalfe, 51, a seven-term Cranberry Republican, had to fight against a write-in campaign by Gordon Marburger, 57, of Adams, who was kicked off the ballot for improperly filing paperwork with the state Ethics Commission. Metcalfe had 54 percent of the vote compared to 46 percent of ballots cast as write-ins — a 190-vote margin with 70 percent of precincts reporting.
The winner will face Democratic political newcomer Lisa Zucco, 44, of Cranberry in November. She ran unopposed.
Mike Wereschagin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.