Abigail Salisbury, president of the Swissvale Borough Council, and Matt Gergely, McKeesport’s finance director, were chosen as the nominees on the Democratic side for the state House openings in the 34th and 35th Districts during a Sunday meeting of the Allegheny County Democrats.
Salisbury was the choice over Ashley Comans, Bhavini Patel and NaTisha Washington as the 34th District nominee to replace Summer Lee, who resigned her seat after winning the 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Gergely was chosen over Aaron Adams, Kim Dunlevy and Dr. Rikell Ford as the nominee in the 35th District to replace Austin Davis, who resigned to take the post as Pennsylvania lieutenant governor.
Salisbury, a former First Amendment law professor at the University of Pittsburgh, won the Allegheny County Democratic Committee’s endorsement for the seat in the May primary, but lost by a wide margin to Lee, two-term incumbent.
“We really, desperately need somebody to represent us in Harrisburg who will help us with the things that are very pressing in day-to-day life for people who live here,” Ms. Salisbury said.
She will face Republican Robert Pagane in the special election that the Department of State is planning for February 7.
Gergely is McKeesport’s finance director and previously served as city administrator and as a McKeesport Area School District official. Prior to Davis, the district was represented by his brother – Marc – until he departed amid charges related to his connections to an illegal gambling operation.
“It would be crazy to run and not think this would be an issue,” Matt acknowledged. “But I’m my own person.”
He will take on GOP nominee Don Nevills in the special election.