PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — This election is not just about electing a President, as many other races are on the ballot.
One hotly contested battle is in the North Hills to replace former House Speaker Mike Turzai who resigned this summer.
It’s been a Republican district for decades, but with changing demographics Democrats think they have a shot at winning the 28th Legislative District with the same candidate who came within nine points of defeating Turzai two years ago.
“It is the fastest trending Democratic district in the state. We see a lot of people who are historically Republicans who are clearly voting for Democratic candidates,” says Emily Skopov, the Democratic candidate.
Skopov needs exactly that to defeat her Republican opponent, Rob Mercuri, in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by just under 4,000.
Democrat Skopov stresses her support for public education, the environment, and small business growth, adding, “I tend to believe in science and data, which I have not seen so much from the other side. I believe in telling the truth, and I also believe in being engaged with my constituents and responding to anybody regardless of party.”
Republican Mercuri was Mike Turzai’s choice for state House so, no surprise, Mercuri wants to build on Turzai’s legacy.
“Mike Turzai has a wonderful legacy in this district,” Mercuri told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
“What I hear the most often is, ‘I know Mike, and he helped me.’ And that’s the type of legacy that I want to earn as the next state legislator for this district.”
Mercuri also sees a clear ideological difference between his approach and the Democrats.
“They would like more government programming. They would like free services that would have to be paid for with higher taxation,” says Mercuri.
Both candidates are married, have kids in the public schools, and emphasize local issues.
But some pundits think this seat will go to the political party whose candidate wins the presidential race in the North Hills.
WATCH: Jon Delano Has More With Both Candidates