HARRISBURG (KDKA) – We’re two weeks until Pennsylvania’s primary election day, but for some voters, it’s like a general election with residents choosing a new state representative.
That’s what will happen in part of Westmoreland County. When Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Reese died suddenly at age 42, it left an unexpected vacancy that voters will fill on May 18. Chosen by their party leaders, three candidates are on the ballot.READ MORE: Millennials Paying More Attention To Life Planning As COVID-19 Pandemic Causes Wake-Up Call
Reese was a well-liked rising star in the state House. Who will replace him is now up to voters in the 59th District of 19 communities mostly in Westmoreland and a small part of Somerset County.
“I’ve never lost touched with the voters, the issues, or what is most important to them,” says Leslie Baum Rossi, the Republican candidate.
Rossi, a realtor who became known for her “Trump House” that promoted the former president, talked to KDKA in February but was not available this week.
She says she is a strong supporter of Donald Trump.
“I love everything he did. I really love the America First platform and agenda, and I’m really behind that,” says Rossi.
Rossi says through both the Trump House and subsequent door-knocking, she developed strong ties to local residents.READ MORE: Gas Prices Potentially On The Rise In Pittsburgh Area Following Cyber Attack On U.S. Pipeline
Mariah Fisher, the Democratic candidate, says, “I lived here, actually my family has lived here for generations. I actually live down the street from my mother and two blocks from my grandmother.”
Fisher is a Republican-turned-Democrat and a Ligonier council member.
She cites her government experience and says she’s passionate about this district. One goal: improved broadband service.
“In order to get jobs or companies or young people even moving here so they can telecommute, that is something we have to have,” she says.
Robb Luther is the Libertarian candidate, who says his party is the conservative alternative.
“Feeling somewhat disenfranchised by the Republican Party because I feel like there’s some false advertising going on as far as the fiscal conservative aspects of the Republican Party,” says Luther. “They tend to be huge spenders.”MORE NEWS: Allegheny County Council Expected To Vote On Police Body Camera Legislation
This is a special election, so all voters, regardless of party, get to choose among the three candidates.