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Special election for 35th District to help determine control of state House

Special Election: 35th District
Special Election: 35th District 02:29

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Tuesday is Election Day for about 200,000 people in Allegheny County.

As KDKA-TV political editor Jon Delano reports, one of the three special elections will be to replace Austin Davis, who resigned his position in the state House to become Pennsylvania's lieutenant governor.

Voters in the heart of the Mon Valley in the 35th District will elect a replacement for Davis. There are two candidates: Democrat Matt Gergely and Republican Don Nevills. 

"For the last few years that I've watched our last state representative, not much has been accomplished," Nevills said.
"I've heard over and over from so many that we're lacking communication with the government. We're lacking email response, calls, anything to inform the people."

Nevills is a Clairton native who served in the U.S. Navy and is now a small businessman who owns a tattoo parlor. Nevills says public safety is issue number one for this district.

"We have an uprise in crime that we need to get under control," Nevills said.

"We have habitual re-offenders," he added. "The police are going out and doing their work, arresting them, doing what we have to do, and then the courts are failing us."

Democrat Gergely says he has the experience to get to work for the Mon Valley, having worked for both the city of McKeesport and the school district.

"I worked in government for the past 20-plus years, and it's been public service that I love," Gergely said. "I love seeing the results of our help."

Like Nevills, Gergely sees crime as a key issue in the Mon Valley and wants more trained police. He also supports more state dollars for economic development.

"We need more than a lot of areas require because of the rebuilding we have to do and the remediation," Gergely said.

"The addiction to crime and violence we are experiencing, and how you solve it, " he added. "What is the answer? If there was one answer, we'd be copying it and we'd be doing it all over the country."

There are three special elections on Tuesday. If Democrats win all three, they will take control of the state House. If Republicans win one of the three, they will keep control.

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