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PITTSBURGH (AP/KDKA) — Democrat Pam Iovino has claimed victory in the special election for the vacant 37th District state Senate seat.

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Iovino claimed victory shortly before 10 p.m.

“I really do want to get to work; it’s the reason that I did it to begin with. So my last final thank you to everybody,” she said.

With about 90% of precincts reporting, Iovino led by about 4,100 votes. Turnout was expected to be around 20 percent.

Tuesday’s contest pit Iovino against Republican D. Raja for a seat largely controlled by Republicans the past half-century, but the district is viewed as increasingly friendly to Democrats and has a Democratic registration edge.

Raja conceded late Tuesday night.

“The voters have spoken and we respect their choice. I called Pam Iovino about five, 10 minutes ago and offered my congratulations and told her she’d serve our country and we look forward to her service as a state senator,” said Raja.

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Iovino fills the seat vacated by Republican Guy Reschenthaler, who now serves in Congress.

Iovino is a Navy veteran who held a top U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs post. Raja the chief executive of an information technology consulting firm. In recent days, both state parties sent mailers linking Raja to President Donald Trump.


Trump won the district by 6 percentage points in 2016. But Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf won it by a double-digit margin in 2018.

Republicans control the state Senate, 26-21.

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