Raja, Iovino prepare for special senatorial election

After the November midterm elections, Guy Reschenthaler’s seat in the 37th District of Pennsylvania became vacant, since he was elected to represent the 14th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As a result of the vacancy, a special election must be held to fill the seat.

According to Ballotpedia, the candidates for this election include Democrat Pam Iovino and Republican D. Raja.

This year’s special election hasn’t received as much attention as the one held last year, in which Conor Lamb defeated Rick Saccone in the 18th Congressional district, said Kelly Watson, communications committee chair for the Washington County Democratic Committee. However, several factors could be at play.

“We think it is because of the redistricting,” said Watson. “There is more buzz in Allegheny County because the majority of the district falls there. That is not to say that Washington county isn’t excited but the district doesn’t encompass all of Washington.”

Watson also said there are not a lot of polling locations for this election because of the fact that it is a special election.

“It is so soon,” Watson said. “It is also not on a big scale because it just one race and there hasn’t been a lot of polls.”

The democratic candidate, Pam Iovino, brings her extensive background in the Navy and her positive attitude for Democrats to keep gaining ground in the legislature, Watson said.

Her campaign for the seat will be kept under a close eye by the state’s top Democrats.

“She is a fantastic candidate,” Watson said. “She is very popular and she very easily got the spot in the nomination. She is extremely qualified, she has a great background and I think everyone is very excited about her.”

Iovino’s opponent, D. Raja, is a small business man from Mt. Lebanon and was chosen by a unanimous ballot from Washington and Allegheny counties to run in the special election.

The Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Val DiGiorgio issued an official statement to endorse Raja.

“Raja is a proven Republican leader and a small business owner with significant name recognition and a strong background of community involvement and service,” DiGiorgio said. “As his campaign moves forward, Raja will have the full support of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania.”

Watson said Democrats will be campaigning hard because representation in any Senate district is crucial if they want their voice to be heard.

“We want to make sure that the people we are electing are there to represent us,” she said.

Similarly, DiGiorgio said Republicans will also be pushing to get Raja into the Senate.

“We will be using every tool at our disposal,” DiGiorgio said. “To make sure we send Raja to the Senate where his entrepreneurial experience and leadership skills will be an asset as he as he works with the Senate Republican majority to keep taxes low and pass pro-growth legislation.”

The election will be held April 2 and Watson encourages everyone to become aware of the candidates and what they stand for.

“Get out and vote,” said Watson. “Vote for who is going to represent your interests and your family’s interests.”