PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- One candidate has dropped out and another has entered the wide-open race to succeed Congressman Mike Doyle, who is retiring at the end of the year.
Move over, Professor Jerry Dickinson. Step aside, Representative Summer Lee. Give it up, Democratic activist Steve Irwin. The latest candidate is the youngest at age 28. Bhavini Patel says she's the right choice to replace Doyle.
"I'm running for Congress because my story is Pittsburgh's story with my mom coming here in the late 1990s," Patel told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Bhavini's mother emigrated here from India, and Patel, now 28, grew up in Monroeville helping her single mom operate food trucks before attending the University of Pittsburgh and Oxford University in England, returning home to start her own online company, serving as a Biden delegate, and then getting elected to the Edgewood council – all while in her 20s.
Delano: Would you be the youngest member of Congress if elected this year?
Patel: I actually don't know the data on that. It's a great question. It's not something I've necessarily focused on. When I'm having conversations with voters, one of the first things that comes up is the sort of relatability factor. I think people are so excited by my lived experiences.
Patel says it's her experience and expertise in the new economy that will help her lead Pittsburgh into the future.
"We need a representative who has participated in the innovation economy, understands it, and can make sure that everybody has access to it," Patel said. "That's something I am truly excited about."
With former Brentwood councilwoman Stephanie Fox dropping out of the race, Democrats will choose among candidates whose views range from Democratic socialist to progressive and moderate. As for where Patel fits on the spectrum, she says she identifies with the incumbent.
"I think that Congressman Doyle has done a remarkable job and having the honor of continuing the work he has done, that's something that would be incredible for me," says Patel.
Lots of choices for Democrats in a congressional district that's not yet finalized. It's likely to include most of the city of Pittsburgh, the east suburbs, some South Hills suburbs, and the Mon Valley – and be overwhelmingly Democratic, which is why this spring's Democratic primary is so important.
for more features.