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Republicans Challenging 2 Longtime Democratic Lawmakers In Region

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- All 203 state House seats are on the ballot this year, and most incumbents tend to get re-elected.

But two longtime Democratic legislators in this area have been targeted for defeat by the Republicans.

Every two years, state Republicans go after Pa. Rep. Frank Dermody of Oakmont and Pa. Rep. Joe Petrarca of Vandergrift. This year, the Republicans are trying again with challengers Carrie DelRosso and Jason Silvis.

"Partly, that I'm leader of the Democratic Party. They look at the district and know that it's competitive, and they'd like to beat me. But they're not going to so we're going to continue to fight," Dermody told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.

Dermody has represented the 33rd District in the Allegheny Valley for 30 years. If Democrats take control of the state House, Dermody would be House Speaker.

"No disrespect to him, I just think it's time for change," says DelRosso.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"It's time to vote for someone who wants to go in there and give it to them," she added.

Oakmont councilwoman DelRosso says she's knocked on thousands of doors and will be more visible in the district.

"My goal is to be in Harrisburg when I have to be but to be back here in my office and be back here in front of the people. The only way that I will be able to advocate for them is if I listen to them," says DelRosso.

Dermody says he already delivers, most recently on healthcare.

"Working with the governor, working with the other side, we've been able to do the improvements at Allegheny Valley Hospital. UPMC St. Margaret is building a family health center in New Kensington. Allegheny Health Network, working with local officials, we are getting a neighborhood hospital in Harmar Township," notes Dermody.

In the 55th District in Westmoreland, Armstrong, and Indiana counties, 26-year incumbent Democrat Petrarca says his seniority yields benefits.

"We have a very effective district staff, very aggressive. We help people with their problems and we help our communities with what they need, trying to make state government accessible to everyone," says Petrarca.

Petrarca faces newcomer Silvis, a Hollywood stuntman who declined repeated invitations to interview.

Petrarca says his district has become more Republican, but, he says, "As I am sure you know, I am a conservative Democrat."

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