It’s never too early to announce your intentions.
Pittsburgh-area pastor Jim Nelson, a veteran and retired law enforcement officer, announced on Tuesday that he will seek the 2024 Republican nomination for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 17th district, aiming to unseat Democratic incumbent Chris Deluzio next November.
He becomes the first Republican to announce for the Allegheny and Beaver County seat that the national GOP has identified as a pickup opportunity.
“I’m a veteran, a retired law enforcement officer, a pastor, and most importantly, a proud American,” said Nelson in a press release. “I am a public servant at heart and for more than three decades, I have served the communities of western Pennsylvania. I’ve kept our residents safe, protected our neighborhoods, and I am honored to have made a difference in the lives of many. Today, I am proud to take the next step in public service as I announce my candidacy for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 17th district. The road to 2024 starts now. It starts with you.”
Born and raised in McKeesport, Nelson graduated from McKeesport Area High School with a Congressional nomination to West Point. He went on to serve his country with the United States Air Force and the Pennsylvania Air National Guard and was honorably discharged.
During his 30-year tenure in law enforcement, Nelson served as an Allegheny County Deputy Sheriff, Deputy Sergeant/Supervisor, and as a police officer with both the City of McKeesport and the University of Pittsburgh. He was also a member of the Greater Pittsburgh Fugitive Task Force, which was comprised of troopers from the Pennsylvania State Police, the U.S. Marshals Service, the City of Pittsburgh, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Allegheny County Police.
A seminary graduate with a Ph.D. in biblical studies, he is the Senior Pastor of New Birth Ministries in Duquesne.
“The voices of western Pennsylvanians – your voices – are getting lost in today’s political climate of just one extreme or the other,” he said as to why he is running. “I am here to offer a better choice.”
Nelson has pledged to take a no-nonsense approach to Washington, with individual liberties and commonsense policies at the forefront of his platform. Among his priorities if elected are ensuring safety in schools, lowering taxes to help families make ends meet, and returning to economic prosperity. Nelson hopes to be a true representative of a diverse district.
“Jim Nelson’s candidacy is a breath of fresh air in the Republican party,” said Republican strategist Ashleigh Pisarcik. “Turning PA-17 red will be an uphill battle, and it is going to take a candidate with a unique story to accomplish it. Not only will Jim appeal to the Republican base, but his commonsense platform will resonate with everyday Pennsylvanians, especially as Chris Deluzio aligns himself with extremists on the Left.”
“We’ve elected a lot of politicians, but not a lot of representatives,” commented Nelson.
He resides in Penn Hills with his wife Carol. They have two daughters, Jennifer and Crystal, and a son-in-law, Leo.