In a special election last year, Pam Iovino defeated D. Raja for a state Senate seat that Democrats almost never win.By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The election is four weeks from Tuesday, and in addition to the highly visible presidential race, voters will be electing 25 state senators across the Commonwealth.

One of the most hotly contested races is in Allegheny and part of Washington counties.

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In a special election last year, Pam Iovino defeated Republican D. Raja for a state Senate seat that Democrats almost never win. This year, Republican Devlin Robinson, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is trying to win it back.

“The passion for serving my country and the community and the Commonwealth didn’t leave with my discharge from the Marine Corps,” Robinson told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.

Iovino served 23 years in the Navy until President George W. Bush, a Republican, nominated her, a Democrat, to be assistant secretary for veterans affairs.

“The process that led ultimately to my nomination and confirmation had to do with qualifications and ability to step in and do the job,” said Iovino.

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Robinson says Iovino has failed the 37th Senatorial District that stretches across the South Hills, West Hills and Quaker Valley.

“The senator has a record of a very liberal agenda, and that includes raising taxes on small businesses, and defunding police, and public funding of abortion,” says Robinson.

“I think I’m pragmatic, moderate,” says Iovino. “I do not support defunding police. I’ve met regularly with my chiefs of police.”

As for abortion, says Iovino, “I support a woman’s right to choose what is in her best interest for her health, including her reproductive health. I trust women.”

State Democrats say Robinson took $25,000 from “disgraced former Congressman Tim Murphy.”

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“I think he did a pretty good job advocating for the people of western Pennsylvania,” says Robinson. “So I am not ashamed of taking his campaign contributions.”