PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Democrat Pam Iovino, the first woman to represent the 37th senatorial district in the South Hills, western suburbs and Quaker Valley and only the third Democrat since World War II, admits she’s tired after a grueling campaign.
“I am more than a little tired, yes,” said Iovino on Wednesday.
The Senator-elect sat down with KDKA political editor Jon Delano at Cafe Io’s, her nephew’s restaurant in Mt. Lebanon, a day after her big win.
She was asked about the national buzz about her flipping a district carried by President Trump.
Delano: “Do you think there are national implications in your election?”
Iovino: “I haven’t had a chance to dig into the numbers yet, but I believe that the swing from 2016, even 2018, to this special election last night will show significant shift, a significant shift. Yes, so I do think it has implications.”
Many think anger at President Trump brought more voters out.
“We modeled on maybe 22 percent coming out to vote, and it ended up being 35 percent, I believe,” Iovino said. “Something motivated them to come out to vote.”
The 62-year old Navy veteran doesn’t focus on gender, but this region now has four women in the state Senate.
“We want our elected officials to really reflect the electorate they are representing,” Iovino said.
Iovino sees herself as a moderate Democrat and hopes to work with Senate Republicans.
“Actually in the state Senate, it is more bi-partisan than one would think,” she said.
She says the issue she heard the most at people’s doors was health care, both protections under Obamacare and the ongoing battle between UPMC and Highmark.
“People are concerned about both what’s happening at the federal level with the Affordable Care Act and how that could impact their insurance, and then they’re really concerned about what’s happening locally, if they could lose their provider,” Iovino said.
Of course, filling out an unexpired term, Iovino only has until 2020.
“I expect because it is such a swing district that the Republicans will want to attempt to take it back again, but this time I run with the experience of having run once before,” Iovino said.
It’s hard to believe that next year she has to do it all over again.
Iovino won because she turned out Democrats and because Republicans in Sewickley, Upper St. Clair and other areas voted for her, too.
What that says about the national political scene next year is conjecture, but clearly the Democratic winning trend continues.
Iovino is expected to be sworn in sometime in the next two weeks.