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Votes add up to a Saccone victory

| Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 8:57 p.m.

Republican incumbent Rick Saccone will serve his second consecutive term as state representative in District 39, after beating his challenger, Democrat David Levdansky, by 114 votes.

“I'm very pleased, obviously,” said Saccone, adding that he appreciates all of the communications — emails, phone calls, text messages and conversations — he received from people in support of his re-election.

Levdansky conceeded the race in an email on Nov. 15.

“I am forever grateful for the tremendous support I received in this campaign from a broad array of organizations — the labor movement, the education community, environmental groups and advocates for women and consumer protection,” said Levdansky, adding that one of his biggest regrets is not being able to reform Pennsylvania's campaign finance system.

“While I have long urged people that their vote does matter, and a 114-vote shortfall proves that one vote clearly does matter, I cannot ignore the impact special interest money has on the election process.”

The state representative-elect title for District 39 was up in the air for a week for Saccone, 54, of Elizabeth Township, and Levdansky, 58, also of Elizabeth.

Elections offices in Allegheny and Washington counties had to recount absentee ballots and count provisional ballots because votes for Saccone and Levdansky were too close on Election Day to declare a winner. Unofficial results from both counties totaled 14,486 votes for Saccone and 14,372 for Levdansky.

Levdansky led Allegheny County with a total of 11,411 votes to Saccone's 11,101, said Mark Wolosik, Allegheny County Elections Division Manager. But Saccone edged out a win with 3,385 votes in Washington County, to Levdansky's 2,961, said Larry Spahr, Washington County Elections Director.

Election results will become official upon certification by the election boards in Allegheny and Washington counties.

Saccone said it took hard work to convince District 39 constituents to vote for him. About 76 percent of those living in the district are registered Democrats.

But there still are about 30 absentee and provisional ballots in the district being challenged by the Republican Committee of Allegheny County. However, not enough ballots are being challenged to make a difference in the election.

The Allegheny County Board of Elections will preside over hearings on Friday and Monday for the disputed ballots, Wolosik said. The ballots are being challenged because they were received after the Nov. 2 deadline, although a decision in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas extended the deadline to the closing of the polls on Election Day because of Hurricane Sandy.

This is the second time Saccone and Levdansky faced off in a neck-and-neck race. Levdansky was the 39th District representative for 25 years before Saccone ousted him two years ago by a 151-vote margin.

The 39th District includes Jefferson Hills.

Laura Van Wert is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5814 or at lvanwert@tribweb.com.

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