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Chris Deluzio Announces Run For Conor Lamb's House Seat Even Though No Guarantee The District Will Exist After Reapportionment

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Chris Deluzio, an Iraqi War veteran, announced he's a candidate for Congress next year for the seat now held by Congressman Conor Lamb, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

But it's not clear if Lamb's congressional district will exist in 2022. When Lamb announced for the Senate a few weeks ago, his 17th Congressional District in suburban Pittsburgh was put on the chopping block.

"If history is any judge, when there is a seat vacated due to a retirement or someone leaving to run for higher office, that certainly makes it easier than trying to put two incumbents in the same district," says Republican political strategist Mike Devanney.

Pennsylvania is losing one of its 18 congressional seats next year, but it won't be the 17th, says Deluzio, a Democrat and policy director of the University of Pittsburgh's Cyber Law, Policy & Security Institute.

Deluzio, a graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis and Georgetown Law School, severed in Iraq and wants to succeed Lamb in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"When I look at the census data that we've seen this month, I see the numbers for the 17th District were quite strong, better than folks had expected," Deluzio told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. "I see Allegheny County having good growth, the best since 1960."

Deluzio says greater population losses in the north-central part of the state should mean the eliminated district comes from that region, not here. If the district that lost the most population took the hit, it would be the 15th District represented by Congressman Glenn G.T. Thompson, a Republican.

Deluzio, who now lives in Shadyside but grew up in the 17th, says he, his wife, and young children would move into the district once the final lines are drawn.

"My hope is that we have a competitive and fair map. I grew up in the current district in Thornburg, called it home during my time in uniform. I live in Pittsburgh but no matter what happens in the ultimate redistricting, I'm going to be living in the district should I be lucky enough to represent it in Congress and earn the support of my neighbors," said Deluzio.

New congressional districts will be drawn this fall by a Republican legislature and a Democratic governor. Political strategist DeVanney says Deluzio and other candidates are smart to get started now.

"In order to raise the necessary funds, you do need to announce perhaps earlier than there is a district," says DeVanney. "This sounds very unconventional and, to be frank, there could be candidates who announce a candidacy today that ultimately abandon a candidacy because there is no district."

Like Lamb, Deluzio says he will not take campaign contributions.

"I look at Washington, I look at many on the Republican side who are doing the bidding of the most powerful corporations and billionaires, and for me, that runs against what I think it means to be a patriot, what it means to serve. So I'll fight for policies to invest in us and our region," says the Democrat.

So far, Deluzio is the only announced Democrat for the Lamb seat. If the district survives, Republican sources say possible GOP candidates include former Congressman Keith Rothfus, former House Speaker Mike Turzai, and former congressional candidate Sean Parnell, who is now running for the U.S. Senate.

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