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Can Pa. Rep. Adam Ravenstahl Survive Primary Challenge Without His Brother?

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Call him the lesser known brother -- PA Rep. Adam Ravenstahl of Brighton Heights.

First elected four years ago when his much better known brother, Luke, was riding high as mayor of Pittsburgh, Adam has shunned the limelight.

"I come to work every single day with the goal of making this district and this region a better place," Ravenstahl told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.

But with his brother no longer in office, Ravenstahl faces a strong challenge in the Democratic primary from Tom Michalow, a former Avalon councilman and local high school teacher.

"I love being a teacher. It's been 16 years of absolutely very fulfilling work," noted Michalow.

But Michalow says he can be a stronger advocate for this area in Harrisburg than Ravenstahl.

"I have a record of getting the job done," he said.

In a close vote, Ravenstahl beat Michalow for the Democratic Party endorsement, setting the stage for a close primary contest.

Both candidates say the former mayor is not an issue.

"I'm not my brother. I love my brother dearly. I think he did a great job in the city of Pittsburgh," noted Ravenstahl. "To tie me in to my brother in the sense of some of the things going on with him, I think it's unfortunate."

"See, I avoid that," said Michalow. "That's not Adam. I'm running against Adam's record."

Ravenstahl says it's not fair to blame him for his brother's issues.

"To tie me to my brother, attempt to do that negatively, in my opinion, is certainly not fair," he said.

And on that point, Michalow agrees.

"It would be unfair for me to run based on his brother's actions, and I'm not doing that," he said.

Both Ravenstahl and Michelow say they are running positive campaigns focused on issues.

Michalow says he is more liberal than Ravenstahl, saying he is pro-choice and supports gay marriage, and he criticizes Ravenstahl for voting against the transportation funding bill.

Ravenstahl touts his strong constituent service, saying his door is open to everyone -- and that he keeps an open mind.

Local Democrats will decide their nominee nine weeks from Tuesday.

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