Washington County Republican Party picks O’Neal for state House seat
The Washington County Republican Party on Saturday picked Tim O’Neal, an Army veteran and human resources director for a construction company, as its candidate for a special state House election in May.
O’Neal, 37, of South Strabane easily defeated competitors Jerad Cypher, a former president of East Washington Borough Council, and Joseph DeThomas, who works at Komatsu Mining, in a vote of 73 party committee members, county Republican Party spokesman Dave Ball said.
A May 15 special election is being held to replace Democrat Brandon Neuman, who left the District 48 seat at the end of last year after being elected as a Washington County judge. The district includes Washington, Canonsburg, Houston, Chartiers, North Franklin, North Strabane and South Strabane.
Clark Mitchell Jr., 31, a South Strabane attorney, won the Democratic Party’s nomination for the seat, the Observer-Reporter reported. The two candidates for the special election will appear on the same ballot as candidates in party primaries for statewide races.
O’Neal said he plans to harness the momentum that he said has been gathering in the Washington County Republican Party to flip the district from blue to red. He pointed out that 73 of 78 eligible committee members turned up for Saturday’s nominating meeting.
If elected, he said, he would prioritize revitalizing neighborhoods in the district that are blighted by condemned and abandoned buildings.
“We just need to ensure that our small business owners that are looking and interested in developing these things get connected with the resources that are already out there and ensure that government doesn’t get in the way of them doing it,” he said.
He said he also would advance state efforts to fight the opioid epidemic and work to bolster the region’s coal, oil and natural gas industries, adding that he has worked in the energy industry.
He said state government needs to ensure that the industries “aren’t over-regulated but at the same time stay safe, and just ensuring that we’re pro-business as opposed to anti-business, which policies are leaning towards lately.”
Wes Venteicher is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-380-5676 or [email protected].