Vulakovich Wins 40th District Seat in PA Senate, Succeeds Orie
The Republican from Shaler Township scores decisive win over Democrat Dr. Sharon Brown.
Republican Randy Vulakovich won Tuesday's special election and will fill the 40th District state senatorial seat formerly held by Jane Orie.
“I’m ecstatic. I’m in a little in awe because all these people you see here worked so hard and got behind me in a short period of time," Vulakovich said Tuesday night at Monte Cello's Restaurant in the Hampton Shoppes on Route 8 in Hampton Township where he was joined by about 300 supporters.
"And to put a race together in that short period of time and get in full gear is a lot of work. Everything goes according to how well they work. I’m very blessed with a lot of friends and a lot of people who have faith in me.”
Brown reacted to her loss Wednesday morning.
"Of course it wasn't the result we'd hoped for, but I do congratulate Randy Vulakovich," she said. "I think we did the best we could do with the abbreviated timeline set by the administration, and considering we were outspent 28-1, according to the initial campaign spending disclosures released through July 23. I just hope he does what he said he was going to do in listening to his constituents because that has not been the case in the past in this district."
Wexford businessman Don Bindas also launched a write-in campaign for the seat. The Butler results show 82 write-in votes, but it does not specify whose names were written in.
The Allegheny results show 169 write-in votes.
Voting was light in the 40th District—which covers parts of Allegheny and southern Butler counties.
Vulakovich, who has represented the 30th legislative district in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives since 2006, reflected Tuesday night on his new role as a state senator.
His first priority, he said, is “putting the 40th back together. Try to bring things back to normal, kinda like it was a bad dream. Then get ready for the session to come in September.”
The 40th District seat has been empty since May when Orie resigned after being convicted for using her office staff to do campaign work. She was sentenced to 2 1/2 to 10 years in prison.
Vulakovich's decision to run for the seat meant he was running for two seats at the same time—for re-election to his House seat as well as for running to finish out Orie's term, which ends in 2014.
Vulakovich's opponent for the 30th District House seat, Democrat David Tusick, sent his congratulations in an emailed press release.
"Randy is a well-known citizen and politician in (the) Shaler area," said Tusick. "I believe Sharon Brown (the Democratic opponent for the State Senate seat) would have been a great choice for the office, but I look forward to working with Randy on matters that concern District 30 after the November election."
Now the Republicans will need to choose a candidate to run against Tusick in the November election.
Other top issues to Vulakovich in his new role?
“The budget is always the number one priority for me, balanced budgets and, of course, jobs. We have great potential here in this state, especially with the (Marcellus) gas and offshoots of all that and I want to make the business climate very favorable so that businesses can stay here and grow, and have other people come in here and say, 'Hey, we can start a business in Pennsylvania.'
“Whenever you look back through history, when people are working, people are happy. They can put a roof over their head, they can take care of their family, they can feed them. (At) Christmastime, they can give them a nice Christmas. When it’s real cold, they can pay to heat their homes. That’s what people want—security and a job.”
Patch asked Vulakovich if his victory is a good sign for presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania.
“It’s hard for me to judge that. From the standpoint (of) the 30th House district, we had some issues there and we had to come in and put it back to normal again. That’s a similar situation here.
"Whether that’s an indication for him (Romney) or not, I hope it is. Whether it is or not, I’ll let all of these people in front of laptops do their little numbers and figure it out for themselves.”
Any final message to the voters tonight?
“They can say a prayer for me, so that I do a good job and I won’t let them down.”
What are your thoughts on the election and the future of the 40th District? Tell us in the comments.