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PITTSBURGH, Pa. (KDKA) – Police were called to a polling place in downtown Pittsburgh this afternoon after an alleged confrontation between State Rep. Jake Wheatley and a campaign worker of his opponent in Tuesday’s primary.
Wheatley, the Democratic incumbent in PA Senate District 19 allegedly came outside and went up to a campaign worker for Aerion Abney, the candidate running against Wheatley. The campaign worker, Kyle Stewart, said he thought Wheatley was just coming up to shake his hand, but he said some words and they got into a verbal argument.
Wheatley’s campaign released a statement about the altercation, saying, in part, “This is a sad, political attempt for political theatre on Election Day. Jake was alerted by the City Vice Chair of the Democratic Party that there was a poll worker for the Abney Campaign who was harassing voters, as well as a Wheatley poll worker. The Judge of Elections had complained and it was communicated to Rep. Wheatley. Jake Wheatley was alerted and requested to visit the location; and when he arrived, the complaint lodged against the problematic Abney campaign worker was confirmed by the Judge of Elections. Jake Wheatley was then verbally taunted by the Abney worker. Thus, a confrontation ensued. Jake Wheatley then left the premises to continue to greet voters in other parts of his district.”
Two Sherriff’s deputies were sent to the scene at the Roosevelt Arms Apartments on Penn Avenue by Elections Court shortly before 4 p.m. When they arrived on the scene, Pittsburgh Police were already on the scene, handling the report.
Stewart says Wheatley then pushed him up against a car.
“He told me some of the things he didn’t agree with,” Stewart said. “I told him I know my rights and I understand the laws. And after that the candidate himself ended up coming. … He chest bumped me into a car and that’s when I needed to call the authorities.”
Police said they are actively investigating the incident. Wheatley did win renomination on Tuesday night.