SD43: Local Businessman Launches Democratic Primary Bid Against Costa

Bill Brittain, a small business owner, announced his intentions to seek the Democratic Party nomination for the state’s 43rd Senate District held by Minority Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny). 

Costa, who was first elected to the state Senate in 1996, ran unopposed in the primary and general election in 2016. 

In a release about his candidacy, Brittain said that career politicians and their donors dominate the political system and refuse to make systematic changes that are needed in society today. 

“I’m running for state senate because I can no longer watch our elected officials refuse to address the difficult issues facing our society,” Brittain said in a release. “Career politicians and their donors have long dominated our system and refused to make systematic changes necessary to face today’s issues, I want to change that.”

The release about his announcement continued to list the following as part of his platform: Fighting Wealth Inequality, Environmental Protection, Education and Property Tax Reform, Ending Corporate Dominance and Gerrymandering, Criminal Justice Reform, Supporting and Funding Public, Transportation, and Marijuana Legalization. 

According to WESA, who first reported about Brittain’s entrance into the race, the progressive challenger said he doesn’t view Costa as a “bad person” and doesn’t “necessarily disagree with his voting record,” but made the case that Harrisburg isn’t making the necessary changes needed for the state. 

Costa responded in the WESA story saying that he understands some of the frustration about lack of progress in Harrisburg, but pointed to the Republican majority and said that it “makes it difficult to advance progressive measures.” Costa added in the story that he was “a little bit surprised” to have a primary challenger, but he is “taking this challenge seriously.” 

In a statement to PoliticsPA, Costa’s campaign reiterated that they take every election seriously and touted his record as proof he advocates for the issues most important to the district.

“Senator Costa takes every election seriously and considers it an honor to represent the people of the 43rd district,” said Craig Grella, campaign spokesman. “He is a tireless advocate for his constituents and it shows in the strong support he receives from both sides of the aisle. His campaign has been active for months and will continue advocating for important issues in every neighborhood and community he serves.”

10 Responses

  1. Yes, this a way to promote his business. Sen. Costa represents his district very well and should continue in his current role as Democratic leader.

    1. Representing a district and being a leader are two entirely different roles. The departure of Senator Yudichak was a setback for the Senate Dem caucus and losing a member of the caucus would appear to have some reflection on the leadership of the Senate Dems.

      1. It’s no reflection on the Dem leadership. Yudichak is trying to survive in a district that Trump won and is turning Republican. Self preservation.

    2. I don’t think that trying to argue that systemic corruption is a problem is PA is “promoting his business”. We have a pollution problem and a housing issue here in Pittsburgh and both those industries donate heavy to Sen Costa. Calling that out and suggesting another way is a viable argument for change. It took me 3 minutes to go on vote smart and see what this guy was talking about.

      1. So, taking out a Senate D Leader, and replacing him with someone who will be years away from having an impact in the Senate is going to help?

        Not from where I stand.

        1. Beyond this guy, we either want real change or we don’t in how our government operates. AOC and Bernie do well for this reason. Real change will be bumpy but to continue down the road where our polticians are owned by industry is and has been leading us in the wrong direction.

        2. Scoop you COsta flunkie, Costa is about costa, he epitomizes whats broken with politics. look up how many loyalists get jobs only because of his political connections. none of them, know what it means to be in the private sector.
          Your logic sucks,”oh, he’s a leader so lets keep him.” what’s he lead? a minority party in harrisburg, whats he done about it? nothing. he goes along to get along in order to find plum positions for loyalists. what are you getting offered?

          Costa is afraid, so is Doyle,

          1. Congratulations for having the dumbest comment I have seen on here in a long time.

  2. The Senator Yudichak departure from the Democratic caucus was not a good day for Dem State Senate Leadership and there is no way around that. As for progressives, the fact remains that Pennsylvania is a centrist state no matter what some may think and nothing will get done if there is no reaching across the aisle. It’s called “Political Reality 101”.

  3. Is he trying to promote his business? What kind of message is, “yes, the incumbent is doing a good job, but I would be more progressive”?

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