BREAKING: State Sen. Matt Smith Resigning

mattsmithState Senator Matt Smith, a Democrat representing the 37th district, is set to resign his seat in the legislature.

Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa announced Smith will be stepping down to take over as President of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.

Smith’s district consists of Allegheny and Washington Counties. He has served since as State Senator since 2013. Before that, he represented the 42nd district in the PA House from 2007 to 2012.

“For the past three years, Sen. Smith has served as a thoughtful and distinguished member of the Senate Democratic Caucus and was an advocate for hardworking people all across Allegheny and Washington counties,” Sen. Costa said. “He is a man of great integrity, whose background makes him the ideal candidate to serve as the President of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber.”

“Matt has earned the respect of everyone who knows and has worked with him,” he continued. “This position will give Matt the opportunity to expand on his record of public service and build from his years of work in the House and the Senate.”

“Matt was a catalyst for change within the Senate and had a firm grasp on issues of importance to his constituents. He will be sorely missed by the entire caucus,” Sen. Costa concluded. “Our loss is truly the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce’s gain.”

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the people of the commonwealth and represent the residents of the 37th Senatorial District,” outgoing Sen. Smith responded. “I would like to thank my constituents for entrusting me to be their advocate in the district and at the state level, and want them to know that even as I leave public office I will continue to work to make our region stronger and prepare our workforce to compete in the 21st century economy. I would also like to thank Sen. Costa and all of my Senate colleagues for their partnership and support during my time in the Senate and as I transition into this new role.”

No plans have been made so far to fill Sen. Smith’s seat.

38 Responses

  1. And today we have Matt Smith to thank for giving another senate seat to the Republicans. Hope they made it worth your while, Matt.

  2. It is unethical for a judge to engage in partisan politics. They are not permitted to seek a non judicial office. Calling committee members to ask for their vote is not allowed. He is doing this.

  3. I saw Lt. gov said special election will decide…does this mean the dem. and rep. Parties nominate somebody for the November election?

  4. I’m surprised there’s not more concern with his flouting of judicial code. By calling area committees directly and meeting with them in semi-secret, Reschenthaler has already provided the dems with an easy challenge to remove him from the ballot, should he make it through the conferee process. Which would leave us without a candidate. After the Raja debacle, I want to avoid another mess.

  5. Leaving one job to take another is far different from leaving an elected judicial office a year and half after being elected and doing so in a manner that violates the very rules that govern judges.

  6. Maybe we have different views, but I have had a couple of jobs I have stayed at for less than a year. Sometimes a better opportunity comes along.

  7. Kat. If that is true, he may be leaving office regardless of whether he wins. Does the name Joan Melvin not mean anything to him?

  8. Sorry, I do not tend to retain mailings I get from prior elections. If you do not see anything wrong with leaving one job less than a fifth of the way into it, then we have different views, particularly with one so young. A term or two in this job would prepare him far better for future offices.

  9. Jimmy, I live in the district magestrates district and do not remember and promise to stay the 6 year term. Maybe I am remembering it wrong. Can you please refer me to something that he said?

  10. Jimmy, integrity? The sitting judge you mention has personally contacted every relevant committee in that district as a candidate for Senate, asking for their endorsement. I guess eighteen months wasn’t long enough to read the Judicial Conduct Code.

  11. What does it say about the integrity of the Magistrate who is going to run when he ran on the promise to serve his entire term and is now leaving after 18 months?

  12. Maybe the person we should have suggest a name to be the candidate should be Matt himself. I met Matt a while ago when he was running the first time for Scott. Matt was never my Rep. I have and like Nick Kotik as my Rep. and he introduced Matt to Scott Dems. Reading Judyns post about Matt I, too, saw it from the beginning. Integrity, public service,concern for people. We have lost a great Senator for our State but no matter whatever he does Matt will always give to PA his best and it won’t matter what Party you are in.

  13. 29 year old magistrate who just moved back from Jefferson hills is the best the republicans can offer?

  14. While working for taxpayer-funded legal aid, Natalie Mihalek helped welfare queens sue their landlords to get air conditioning units installed in their section 8 apartments. Wouldn’t be surprised if we soon learn that she represented illegal immigrants during her two-month stint at Elliott & Davis law firm, which is notorious for helping corporations skirt US immigration law.

  15. Will Greg Parks embarrass himself once more by running for office under the Looney-Toon banner?

  16. You never know, some no-name may run again as a Libertarian; and not have to put up with the politcal games of the Democratic and Republican parties. Who knows an independent individual actually looking out for the people, and not a political party might be refreshing.

  17. It appears A Political insider wants Natalie Mihalek, the same person who announced her candidacy for District Justice in a Christmas card, started a website and then was talked out of running. Then was appointed to the Republican State Committee. Not sure that this would be a good choice for the district.

  18. Reschenthaler is setting himself up to run against Congressman Murphy. That’s the rumor. He just got inaugurated a year ago. Now it’s senate, then it’s congress. Murphy better watch his back.

  19. John, had to look up Guy. Jefferson Hills is one of the smallest pieces of the 37th; not sure this is our best effort. Not another white Guy.

  20. It is clear from the comments already made,that some don’t have a clue how much we’ve lost today- a person of integrity, who truly understood the meaning of public service. He proved this by taking a genuine interest in the concerns of his constituents and making every effort to resolve their issues. And, no matter what, he would personally respond, either by email or letter.
    That dedication not just to the office but to his constituents is rarely seen and could only be found among Democrats!

  21. JayT – As a member of the GOP “establishment” I found your post hilarious. If there are exclusive horse riding parties, my invitation must have got lost in the mail.

  22. @John and Jake O — you guys are so right. Republican party grooms the farm team from the time they’re young republicans to see themselves as part of some exclusive club — where riding horses in jackets with crests is every day stuff. In reality they become door knockers and phone callers, and — if they’re lucky, get some kind of communications gig. But for the vast majority of folks, the Republican party has become an exclusive club, whereas the Democrat party has more of a “join us” everyone is “welcome” vibe. Both parties talk about folks being welcome. They write it on their banners and in their social media campaigns, but in practice, oh my. The Republican party is not for the average Joe. And that’s the problem, plain and simple. It’s an image problem and they don’t see that fixing it doesn’t happen with words and campaign slogans. Too bad. It really is a good party — by far the better of the two, ideologically speaking.

  23. A liberal Democrat heads up the Chamber of Commerce. What does this tell you about the corporate cronies at the CofC?

  24. Guy, having won his seat less than two years ago, would need to resign before making any overture to run.

  25. Well it looks like a female republican from upper saint clair will run.this explains mr.smith resigning,he didn’t want to be out of a job.

  26. The GOP needs to grow up and stop being the party of old white men (and not just locally); it’s a cliché that keeps reinforcing itself and which lends comparison to our failure to adapt, change and move forward with proper reform. Tired names from the party past won’t help to combat this problem either. I join the previous commenters and agree that a female candidate will help to signify our eagerness to do so.

  27. Mustio and Raja could not beat a good candidate that the D’s will field. A young energenic candidate with a great background needs to run. I hope the district magestrate in South Park runs. Guy Reshenthaler could beat anyone the D’s throw at him.

  28. What does the chamber job pay? Is this how the GOP gets Matt out of the way?

    In addition to the pay bump, it also keeps Matt from having to endure a nasty and expensive re-election fight, which if he won he’d still be deep in the minority for the rest of his legislative career.

  29. This is also in SWPA, which is “ancestrally” Democratic and decided less so these days. See Solobay, Timothy,

  30. Unfortunate that it happened in this day and age, but Republicans lost this seat to Matt Smith in 2012 because their nominee was Indian-American. Republicans had held the suburban Pittsburgh seat for 30+ years (Mike Fisher, Tim Murphy and John Pippy).

    Initially, after Pippy stepped down, State Rep. Mark Mustio declared his candidacy and was viewed as such a heavy favorite that no Democrat even filed to run in the primary. But businessmen D. Raja launched a primary challenge to Mustio from the right and the race got nasty to say the least. If you can believe it, a professional campaign team thought it wise for Mustio to send out racially charged mailers that associated Raja with American jobs being sent overseas to India.

    Mustio was vilified and when it became clear that Raja would probably win, Democrats smartly organized a write-in campaign for some no-name guy, knowing that they could simply replace him on the November ballot with a nominee of their choosing … say, State Rep. Matt Smith.

    Unfortunately, Allegheny County GOP Chair Jim Roddey (who endorsed Raja) put it best when Raja initially decided to throw his hat into politics – “He will have a difficult time because we’re a very parochial community and getting someone (elected) who’s a minority, I think it will be a tough thing for him to do.”

  31. While the district has a 45% to 41% DEM registration advantage, and good dem turnout, there are three times as many independents as the “gap”. It’s by no means a safe dem seat.

  32. That’s some heartwarming dedication to public service. What a joke.

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