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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.

Matthew Cook August 08, 2012 at 03:44 AM
I think this is good fro the 40th district. Randy sounds like he understands the basics of what people want. I also liked his answers to the questions posed to him and Sharon Brown during the campaign. He didn't pretend that some government program would make all things better; instead he made simple statements about his philosophy of limited government and free markets.
Matthew Cook August 08, 2012 at 03:45 AM
I think this is good for the 40th district. Randy sounds like he understands the basics of what people want. I also liked his answers to the questions posed to him and Sharon Brown during the campaign. He didn't pretend that some government program would make all things better; instead he made simple statements about his philosophy of limited government and free markets.
Matthew Cook August 08, 2012 at 04:20 AM
So what is it about some people who feel they have to post their comments twice? Are they on an ego trip or just stupid and can't figure out how this comment posting process works?
Bob Howard August 08, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Congratulations to Randy Vulakovich the PA 40th Senatorial winner in the special election. There is still a lot of work to make the Commonwealth the place that our children will call home. Senator-elect Vulakovich brings the experience and judgment that can help us address unsustainable public pensions, failing public schools, transportation needs, state store privatization, and an improved climate for job creation in Pennsylvania, including prevailing wage reforms, tort reforms, and lower business taxes.
Art Wegweiser August 08, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Lighten up Matthew. Some comments post twice if one clicks twice by accident. And just where did the rather large dimensioned winner tell us about his policies and plans? Sorry, but meaningless short TV ads and lawn signs are not quite enough. And his office twice ignored my request for information so I could vote with some knowledge. About all I had to go on was Randy claimed to be a long time friend of Kurzai. Mr K is eager to give away the valuable people's asset of the Wine & Spirits stores to his buddies. Besides that he supports the State's outrageous theft of our voting rights. Choice made.
Matthew Cook August 08, 2012 at 03:19 PM
Haven't we heard enough about politicians' 'policies and plans'? Best thing Randy could do is maybe nothing. Isn't government intrusive enough already? By 'theft of voting rights' do you mean the benign requirement to prove you are who you are before you vote? Hyperbole is not a good argument.
Susan M. August 08, 2012 at 04:30 PM
To Art. I think Matthew was being funny, seeing how his comment was posted twice. Also, there is a wealth of information on Randy's website that is very helpful.
Walt August 08, 2012 at 04:56 PM
@Art Wegweiser the State should never have been in the liquor business - it's not a "people's asset", it's government overreach and inefficiency at its best. We'd realize the same benefits just by taxing liquor sales, the State doesn't need to be in that business. Smaller government, lib, that's the ticket.
Stephanie Davis August 08, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Definitely not my first choice, but hopefully he'll be adequate. His election seems appropriate given who he's replacing.:)
Bob Howard August 08, 2012 at 09:54 PM
If Mr. Wegweiser wants to make a case for state ownership of wholesale and retail businesses and for voter fraud why not bravely advocate for it rather than using smear tactics. Don’t hesitate come right out and explain why government ownership of business assets is superior to private ownership. Don’t hesitate come right out and explain why law abiding voters should risk being disenfranchised by people voting for others instead of asking everyone to obtain and show ID.
Matthew Cook August 09, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Yes thank you Susan. I was trying to correct my typo "fro" to "for" and thought I could get it in before the elves that run the site could post my typo-inflicted comment.
Art Wegweiser August 09, 2012 at 03:18 PM
What has been clearly shown is that many thousand people in PA will be denied the right to vote by this confusing and complex legislation.l Many of these include students, the elderly, handicapped, African-Americans and urban dwellers. Independent studies have also shown the the number of voter frauds is miniscule hence the "justification" for this is bogus. Our very own Mike Turzai has publicly stated that the law will really help Romney in November. What do you suppose he meant by that? Back to the give away of public assets another time. (Turzai, again)
Bob Howard August 10, 2012 at 02:35 AM
What is so confusing about showing one’s ID. It happens thousands of times a day throughout the Commonwealth. Turzai bragging to his supporters does not negate the need to ensure honest and fair elections. If only those opposing voter ID would instead of panicking voters spend their time assisting voters in securing ID all would be much better off.
Susan M. August 10, 2012 at 03:07 PM
How can using an ID to vote cause thousands to be denied due to "confusing and complex legislation?"....don't you need an ID to get on a plane? to collect your welfare? Drive a car? it's not like it's a foreign concept here. Quit making excuses and get the ID or don't vote. Simple enough. Everyone always has excuses for something they don't agree with.
Richland Township Democrats August 11, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Susan: Getting on a plane: privilege, not a right Collecting welfare: privilege, not a right - and millions of mentally handicapped that can't get ID get the majority of welfare monies. Drive a car: privilege, not a right It's not an excuse not to vote, it is an issue of limiting peoples Constitutional rights to vote in the Election. There have been 0 cases of in person voter fraud in Pennsylvania, and we are going to spend millions of dollars to enforce this law. It may be easy to the millions of us that got our driver's license at 16, but there are millions of people that have given up their license as the moved to a senior high-rise or a nursing home. For all the talk about the Constitution, I'm surprised how many Republicans don't see the Voter ID legislation as being un-Constitutional and limiting the rights of law abiding citizens.
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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