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Vulakovich Wins 40th District Seat in PA Senate, Succeeds Orie

The Republican from Shaler Township scores decisive win over Democrat Dr. Sharon Brown.

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.”

With 100 percent of precincts reporting in Allegheny County, Vulakovich has 12,065 votes (71 percent) and Democrat Dr. Sharon Brown has 4,704 (28 percent).

In southern Butler County, Vulakovich won 4,118 votes (75 percent) over Brown's 1,282 votes (23 percent).

 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 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.

Susan M. August 11, 2012 at 03:37 PM
It's not difficult to get an ID. I could see if it was a financial hardship or you have to jump through a million hoops to get one, then yes, it would be problematic. I just don't get why it's such an issue. Get an ID.....show it....and vote.....not a difficult concept.
Richland Township Democrats August 11, 2012 at 03:58 PM
But it is difficult to get an ID. If you don't have a birth certificate you can't get an ID. You can't get a birth certificate without a photo ID. The way around this is to have a direct family member apply for it. However, some people don't have family to do this for them. Also, if you don't have all the details about where you were born you won't be able to get a birth certificate. As much as we like to ignore it, not everyone has been as privileged as we are and have had families that have stuck together. If you live in Richland Township and you don't have an ID, how can you get to a photo ID center? How can you get to the Department of Health Vital Records Department downtown? We don't have a single bus stop in Richland Township. What about the veteran that can't get an ID because his stepfather adopted him and he took on his stepfather's last name? PA won't give him an ID because his birth certificate and all his other documentation (with the stepfather’s last name) don't match? As Ben Franklin once wrote: "that it is better one hundred guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer” Should we limit thousands of people from voting so that we can fix a so called problem with no proof the problem exists? This Voter ID law doesn’t directly address the issues involving voter fraud that have actually taken place, such as absentee ballot fraud and invalid registrations.
Bob Howard August 11, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Although the Richland Democrats used the “if” word a lot, let’s assume these multiple situations exist. Now allow me to use the “if” word. If the Richland Democrats are willing to show their compassion and dedication to servicing the disenfranchised they might provide the necessary transportation themselves and look up the requirements, including how to obtain voter ID without a birth certificate and the other paper work that this person appears to be without. This voter ID law does address the situation where students were bused into Pittsburgh with a listing of persons for whom they were to vote and when persons are reported to be paid to vote for registered voters known to have moved or died whose names remained on the voter files.
Laura Pavlecic August 12, 2012 at 05:52 AM
So the answer is that those of us that are supporting the right for everyone to vote is that I need to use my personal vehicle and time away from my job to get people registered? Wake up and smell the coffee, it is a right of all Americans to vote, we are not in Iran, although it sounds that you are interested in that type of election. The State must provide this service, and now that the Republicans made this an issue in a state (ours, PA) where it is a total non-issue, you bet your tax dollars will help. Thank you very much!! Personally, I would prefer the money to go to fixing bridges, but you watch and see.....
Bob Howard August 13, 2012 at 05:00 AM
It usually gets down to a personal insult which reflects more on the insulter than the insulted. Allow me to give you a quote from the literature of a Black gentleman that is running for the U.S. Congress in the PA 2nd. (Philadelphia) “It is insulting to assume that African Americans and other minority groups are incapable of obtaining a voter ID card. When I was homeless, I had two forms of ID --- my PA Drivers License and my state welfare card. There are no excuses.” I assume that an enlightened person like you will likewise insult him. Just for your information ----- he knows a little bit more about elections in the Middle East than most since he was wounded in Iraq.

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