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SD37: Iovino, Raja Open With Positive Biographical Ads

The race hits the airwaves.

Democrat Pam Iovino, a Navy veteran, and Republican Committee Chair of Allegheny County, D. Raja, have both launched their first television ads for the closely watched special election in the state’s 37th senatorial district in the Pittsburgh suburbs.

Both campaigns strike similar tones by highlighting their biographies and unique journey to this race.

Iovino’s first 30 second ad, Uniform, details her service in the Navy and strikes a bipartisan tone.

“For 23 years, Pam Iovino wore a Navy uniform, rising to the rank of captain,” the voiceover says in the ad. “She worked alongside Democrats and Republicans to defend our nation and mobilize sailors for the 1st Gulf War, appointed by a Republican president to ensure that veterans got the benefits they earned.”

“Now, she’s ready to serve again,” the voiceover continues to say.

Raja’s campaign hopes to pivot the campaign from Iovino’s resume to her policy positions.

“Pam Iovino’s military service is worthy of admiration and respect. She’s earned it,” said Raja spokesman Adam Breneman.

But, “While her campaign will try to sell her as a moderate, the truth is Ms. Iovino is an extreme liberal,” Breneman said. His campaign also accused her of trying to court national liberal groups outside of the mainstream and are “out of step with district residents.”

Iovino’s campaign stands by the message in their first television ad and believes Raja’s campaign’s response to their ad shows that they have a “tendency to favor mud-slinging over thoughtful campaigns and service.”

Raja’s campaign opened up with two 30 second television ads that directly address his international background from his own family members and voiceovers.

The 30 second ad, Opportunity, has his wife, Neeta, explain his appreciation for the district and his hopes to represent them in the state Senate.  

“When Raja decided to run for public office, there was plenty of people that said that no one would ever vote for someone with a different accent or a much different story than their own,” Neeta says in the ad. “But they don’t know the heart of the people of Pittsburgh and they don’t know Raja.”

“When Raja immigrated, he did it the right way. He followed all of the rules,” she continued to say.

She goes on to highlight his background in the business field creating hundreds of jobs in the area and across the country.

The next 30 second ad, Integrity, features a voiceover describing his biography and endorsements from his own two daughters.

“Who is Raja,” the voice says to start the ad.

“Three decades ago, Raja’s journey began here in Pittsburgh. A first generation immigrant, he earned degrees then his American citizenship,” the voiceover continued to state.

In addition to the voiceover touting his business background, his daughters speak about his integrity in the closing of this ad.

“Our Dad is pretty different from most of the politicians that I’ve seen because he has integrity,” one of his daughters says. “Raja’s our Dad, but the more you get to know him, the more I know you’ll see that he’ll be a great state Senator.”

Iovino’s campaign did not provide a comment on Raja’s ads.

According to FCC files, Raja is outspending Iovino 3-1 on television ads thus far in the race.

Both candidates have previously launched bids for office before in the Pittsburgh region.

In 2011, Raja lost to Democrat Rich Fitzgerald for Allegheny County Executive. The following year he lost to Matt Smith for the 37th district Senate seat.

Iovino was most recently a candidate in the Democratic Primary for Pennsylvania’s old 18th Congressional District, which Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Allegheny) went on to win over former Republican state Rep. Rick Saccone.

Reschenthaler represented the 37th state Senate District in Western PA since 2015 by winning a special election after state Smith (D-Allegheny) resigned to become the president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.

The special election date for this race is set for April 2.

This story was updated with a comment from Iovino’s campaign.

31 Responses

  1. In Captain Pam Iovino’s 23 years service as a Navy Officer and Captain, how many, and which ships did Captain Iovino serve?

  2. Iovino shares Pittsburgh values. Be fair to others. Don’t take advantage of people who are weak. Real leaders step forward and sacrifice for the people they serve. Raja’s problem is not his accent or the color of his skin but the content of his character.

    1. Haha, interesting as a political attack, but not so when you learn the facts. These personal attacks being leveled by “Anonymous” and other political hacks deal with a clerical error that led to $100,000 sales people being misclassified. Corrected immediately. A real character flaw…creating good paying family-sustaining jobs for hundreds of Pittsburghers! Get the facts, not the political spin!

      1. Raja made his money by taking advantage of hard working people. He was fined for not paying minimum wage and overtime & said the fines were “an opinion”. Sorry, but that doesn’t fly with Southwestern Pennsylvanians.

    2. She sure does support Pittsburgh values…like her support for more job crushing taxes on blue collar workers and unfettered late-term and post-birth abortions like was pushed by the progressives in VA and NY. Let’s see how that works for her.

      1. Raja’s attack ads,calling Iovino a
        dangerous,extremist may not go over well with voters. Guess he
        forgot it was that kind of Trumpian campaign rhetoric which caused
        fellow Republican, Rick Saccone to loose two elections in one year.

  3. All Iovino has to do is run Rich Fitzgerald’s ads from the County Commissioner’s race & she wins. Easy peasy when Raja gets hundreds of thousands dollars in fines for treating his employees like crap…

    1. Fitzgerald will drain votes from her – he has a 30,000 undervote in Allegheny County. Run from the rotting HEWOS!!

  4. OMG x 2 = love that dog in the one ad. The white fluffy dog is soooooo cute. I would vote for that guy just because of his dog. <3 DOGS!!!!!

    1. I’m not for Zak Bisell either. He’s a crazy conservative who blew the whistle on the nice blokes just trying to fight for some freedom – reproductive freedom that is! Vote no on Zak!

  5. Great Ad with Raja’s daughters. He created jobs, reduced taxes and actually shares western PA values. How refreshing.

  6. Why can’t Iovino speak in her own ad? She must have problems articulating why she supports New York and Virginia style late term abortions to a district that will have none of that nonsense.

  7. Dem Iovino’s ad was impressive. The announcer had a perfect voice for the clip that made you pay attention. Great ad. Emphasized cooperation with opposite party and highlighted extensive military background. Good ad.

    1. Interesting, Elliot, it was a great voice, but I was listening between the lines where it said: “Iovino is the progressive’s choice because she supports taxes that will crush local energy jobs, Wolf’s environmental policies that will cut local manufacturing jobs and regulations that will put blue collar jobs that are just coming back in jeopardy. So yes, it was a good ad if you’re a liberal extremist.

      1. Funny I was looking at the fact that she served our great country…rather then cheating us working folks like Raja

        1. Here’s the funny thing, the energy companies are being taxed in every other states where they are drilling, it won’t hurt them here. Also, what they are fracking is sold on the open market, so it’s not effecting your gas prices. Explain what energy jobs will go away? Pennsylvania has the largest shale deposit in the country, they’re not going anywhere. They pollute our waters, and run their large equipment trucks across our roads. They just received a large tax break from The Don, and have more tax write offs than we do, so everything should fall on our, Pennsylvania Citizens, shoulders? How do you think we pay for roads, police, fire, and such services?

  8. Obviously Raja is unable to articulate his own virtues for office. Breneman clearly doesn’t know this district as it is not Cumberland/York or Altoona where he is more familiar with the territory.

    1. Haters can hate, but after listening to the ads, it’s clear that Raja really does have a great story. Came to US 32 years ago for better opportunities, earned high level degrees from Pitt and CMU, created hundreds of jobs for a bunch of yinzers, raised his family here and has helped many in the community. Nice, optimistic message for a change.

      1. Fined for not paying his employees minimum wage…fined for not paying his employees overtime…inspiring!

      2. and Pam doesn’t? she served this country so people like Raja could become citizens…Ill take the vet over the scummy boss any day of the week!

      1. I respect Iovino’s service to our nation but that alone doesn’t qualify someone for office. Her policy would be detrimental to our area. Vote for the candidate that will create good paying, family sustaining jobs and that candidate is Raja.

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