The Democratic Committees of Allegheny and Washington Counties meet Tuesday to select the party's nominee for the November election to succeed John Pippy in the 37th Senatorial District. State Representative Matt Smith (D-Allegheny) has made it publicly known he is interested in joining the Senate race.
The committees are choosing another nominee because local activist Greg Parks withdrew from the race on June 29. No candidate was on the Democratic primary ballot, but Parks won the nomination in April through a write-in campaign.
Smith said he does not believe Parks was simply acting as a placeholder until another candidate could be found. "I think he was fully committed to the race, and like happens to a lot of candidates, I just believe for personal reasons he did not want to continue on as a candidate," Smith said.
After he was approached by Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, Smith decided to enter the race. "I'm very excited over the next three and half or so months to run a positive campaign and engage in a vigorous debate about what we should be doing to promote job growth and enact fair and effective tax policies," Smith said.
He added that he feels confident about the committees' decision, but will still work hard to ensure he is their choice. "I'm not taking anything for granted. I'm going to work very hard over the next few days to talk, as I said, directly to as many committee members as possible because I really want to speak directly with them and ask them respectfully for their support," Smith said.
The Democratic nominee will face Republican D. Raja in the November election. Raja defeated State Representative Mark Mustio (R-Allegheny) in the April GOP primary.
In January, Pippy announced he would not seek reelection and resigned from the Senate on June 30 to return to the private sector. Lieutenant Governor Jim Cawley has announced there will not be a special election to serve out the remaining 5 months of Pippy's term.