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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP/KDKA) — Polls are now closed in the special election for a vacant 37th District state Senate seat in politically divided suburban Pittsburgh where the sides are testing some national themes ahead of 2020’s presidential election.
Tuesday’s contest pits Republican D. Raja against Democrat Pam Iovino 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.
On Monday, Republicans issued a robocall by Donald Trump Jr., urging listeners to vote for Raja.
He’s the chief executive of an information technology consulting firm he helped start. He headed to his polling place around 10 a.m.
“At least its not raining! It’s a little chilly, but not raining, so I think it will bring out some voters, but like said, we were anticipating a low turnout and we’ll see where this goes,” he aid.
Iovino is a Navy veteran who held a top U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs post. She arrived at her polling place in Mount Lebanon around 7:45 a.m. to cast her vote.
— MEGHAN SCHILLER (@MeghanKDKA) April 2, 2019
She said she feels confident because of her record.
“Because of my record of public service, and my record of being bipartisan, and being able to work across the aisle and across the Capital,” she said.
The winner will fill the seat vacated by Republican Guy Reschenthaler, who now serves in Congress.
In recent days, both state parties sent mailers linking Raja to President Donald Trump.
Voters Matt Fleischer and Alyssa Owens are hoping for a good turnout.
“It’s a local election, so I think it’s actually more important than some of the other the major national elections, cause it actually involves your local community,” Fleischer said.
“I think local elections are very important because they make the change from the ground up. This is for us, for the little people, average ordinary Pennsylvania citizens,” added Owens.
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.
The polls opened at 7 a.m. and closed at 8 p.m. As long as you’re in line by the time they close, you should still be allowed to vote.
For much more information on this Special Election, visit Allegheny County’s website at this link.
(TM and © Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)