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SD-37: Ruscitto To Challenge Robinson For Allegheny County Seat

Nicole Ruscitto

During timeouts in basketball games, coaches will often make player substitutions to get the best “five” on the floor in a given situation.

This time, the coach has decided that she needs to put herself in the contest.

Democrat Nicole Ruscitto, a teacher and coach in the South Park School District, will be a candidate for the Pennsylvania State Senate in the 37th District, challenging first-term Sen. Devlin Robinson (R-Allegheny).

As both Republicans and Democrats eye the 25 seats up for election in the Pennsylvania State Senate this fall, there are a few that could be considered “swing” districts and could alter the balance of power in the chamber in 2025.

The 37th State Senatorial District is one such area. A suburban area that Democrats need to capture in their quest for a majority in a body that sees the GOP holding 28 of the 50 seats.

“First and foremost, I’m an educator. I come from a family of educators, and my lifelong passion has been teaching and fighting for our future generations,” said Ruscitto in a campaign announcement. “That’s how I first got involved in politics; when my community wasn’t considering the needs of our children and families, I stepped up to be their voice. I was honored to serve Jefferson Hills and now I’m ready to serve the 37th district because Harrisburg isn’t listening to us.

“Our schools aren’t funded fairly or at the levels they should be; working people are left out when billionaires get handouts; women’s rights to health care are threatened; the cost of everything rises while our wages stay low; and not a single bill to stop gun violence in our communities has passed the Senate. Current and future generations of Allegheny County are failed by the status quo and it’s time for a change. This community is full of middle class families that deserve to be heard in Harrisburg, and I’m ready to be our voice.”

The South Park School District instructor stepped up to run after two other Democrats – former Allegheny County Council member Tom Duerr and Coraopolis mayor Michael Dixon opted out.

“For decades, I’ve been a mom, a teacher and a coach – but when my community wasn’t being heard, I stepped up to represent my neighbors on township council. Now, my family and others aren’t being represented in Harrisburg and I’m ready to step up again,” she says.

The 52-year-old resident of Jefferson Hills says her experience as a basketball coach makes her a different kind of candidate.

“I’ve coached dozens of teams and I’ve seen how good leadership makes anything possible,” said Ruscitto. We don’t have good leadership for our community in Harrisburg right now, so it’s no wonder so many of us are struggling. It’s time we change that.”

Robinson defeated incumbent Democrat Pam Iovino by less than 3,000 out of more than 161,000 votes in 2020.

According to state legislative rankings compiled by the Conservative Political Action Conference, Robinson’s voting record in his first two years was slightly less conservative than that of some other Republicans, but like most legislators, he has voted with his party the vast majority of the time.

“The status quo isn’t working for my family or the thousands of families like mine in Allegheny County. We deserve a Senator that’s going to fight for us, instead of cozying up to special interests and extremists,” said Ruscitto.

Since 2020, Republican candidates have outperformed within the District compared to the county as a whole, though Democrats have been competitive here. U.S. Sen. John Fetterman and Gov. Josh Shapiro both carried the district in 2022, while Allegheny County Executive Sara Innamorato was trounced there last year.

The 37th District comprises parts of Allegheny County, including the townships of Aleppo, Collier, Crescent, Findlay, Kilbuck, Leet, Marshall, Moon, North Fayette, Ohio, Robinson, South Fayette, South Park and Upper St. Clair and the boroughs of Bell Acres, Ben Avon Heights, Bethel Park, Bradford Woods, Bridgeville, Coraopolis, Edgeworth, Franklin Park, Glen Osborne, Glenfield, Haysville, Heidelberg, Jefferson Hills, Leetsdale, McDonald (Allegheny County Portion), Oakdale, Pennsbury Village, Pleasant Hills, Rosslyn Farms, Sewickley, Sewickley Heights, Sewickley Hills and Thornburg.

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