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Democrats to announce activist as nominee for state Senate seat covering South Hills

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Heather Arnet

Heather Arnet, CEO of the Women and Girls Foundation in Pittsburgh, is Allegheny and Washington county Democrats’ presumptive nominee for the state Senate seat vacated by Matt Smith this summer.

The Allegheny County Democratic Committee will meet to formally select a candidate at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Mt. Lebanon Municipal Building, but officials have planned to announce their nomination at 11 a.m., said committee spokeswoman Megan Winters. Arnet, 41, was the only person to apply for the nomination by the July 24 deadline.

“I am honored to be poised to become the Democratic nominee for the 37th Senate district,” Arnet wrote in an email to the Tribune-Review. “Democratic committee members are the heart of our party. It has been a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with so many of them personally over the last month.”

The Women and Girls Foundation advocates legislation to benefit women and working families. Arnet created the foundation’s “GirlGov” program, which aims to encourage high school girls’ interest in government.

Arnet lives in Mt. Lebanon with her husband, David Shumway, a professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University.

Smith, also a Mt. Lebanon Democrat, resigned last month to become president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.

The special election is Nov. 3, also the date of the general election. Arnet will face Guy Reschenthaler, a former Magisterial District Judge the district’s Republicans chose as their nominee.

Democrats are seeking to retain the seat they pried from Republicans in 2012 when Smith beat D. Raja to replace Republican John Pippy, who resigned to become CEO of the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance.

Democrats have a slight edge in voter registration in the district, which includes Peters in Washington County, many South Hills communities and most of the western portion of Allegheny County. Republicans hold 30 of the state senate’s 50 seats.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412 380 5625 or [email protected].

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