Erin McClelland will be the Democrat running for the 12th Pennsylvania Congressional seat against Republican Keith Rothfus this fall.
In 2011, the 12th district was redrawn – McClelland, who is currently a health care administrator, says that made campaigning particularly hard early on.
“We started out with a really divided party after that gerrymander so people were really angry. You had half the district that were supporters of (Congressman) Mark Critz, the other half (congressman) Jason Altmire and nobody’s candidate won and they were very upset about it and the Democrats were particularly upset because these were two Democratic seats that were put together,” said McClelland.
Critz won that hotly contested primary but fell to conservative Republican Keith Rothfus in the general election.
But on Tuesday night, McClelland easily beat her opponent John Hugya, a retired Marine Colonel and Former Chief of Staff to the late Congressman John Murtha who entered the race last fall.
Colonel John Hugya said he thinks McClelland's lack of experience will hurt her in the general election. "The reason I ran is because there was no strength I saw in Rothfus. And Erin, she's got ideals but no experience. She'll be chopped up down there."
She’ll be the Democrat running for the 12th District Seat in US Congress against incumbent Republican candidate Keith Rothfus.
Hugya said he's not sure who he'll vote for in November. "If there's one worthy between the two of them, I'll vote. But ... it's not a party issue with me, it's a person issue, and you've got to have trust and confidence in the person you're voting for, and they've got to know their stuff."
McClelland, a Natrona Heights native, whose work in the healthcare field has focused on behavioral health said there have been obstacles to her victory on Tuesday.
“Of course being a young new female candidate, that’s always a big issue for you that you have to overcome and I had to work really hard to prove myself that I knew what this district needed, what the people needed and how to bring solutions to the 12th district.”
Tonight she’ll celebrate – but tomorrow she says it starts all over again, campaigning against Rothfus.
“I feel very, very confident that a sound pragmatic message that’s not riddled with blame and antagonism and deflection will maintain with this district,”Pennsylvania’s twelfth congressional district includes all of Beaver County, and parts of Allegheny, Cambria, Lawrence, Somerset, and Westmoreland counties. Before redistricting, it included Greene County.