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Readshaw tops Molchany in incumbent battle for 36th Legislative District

James Knox | Tribune-Review - Pennsylvania State Rep. Harry Readshaw, 36th District chats with supporter Ronnie Rompala, a trustee with the Pittsburgh Firefighters Local 1 Tuesday May 20, 2014 before voting at Phillips Park Community Recreation Center in Carrick.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>James Knox | Tribune-Review</em></div>Pennsylvania State Rep. Harry Readshaw, 36th District chats with supporter Ronnie Rompala, a trustee with the Pittsburgh Firefighters Local 1 Tuesday May 20, 2014 before voting at Phillips Park Community Recreation Center in Carrick.
- Erin Molchany, Democratic State Representative candidate of the 36th District of Pittsburgh, Penn., talks with Jen Blatz of Mount Washington, a member of the Brandon Neuman for Lieutenant Governor, outside of the voting location at the Grace Episcopal Church in Mount Washington on May 20, 2014.
Erin Molchany, Democratic State Representative candidate of the 36th District of Pittsburgh, Penn., talks with Jen Blatz of Mount Washington, a member of the Brandon Neuman for Lieutenant Governor, outside of the voting location at the Grace Episcopal Church in Mount Washington on May 20, 2014.
Emily Harger - Erin Molchany, Democratic State Representative candidate of the 36th District, talks with Democratic Committee candidate Lisa Orlando before voting outside of the voting location at the Grace Episcopal Church in Mount Washington on May 20, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Emily Harger</em></div>Erin Molchany, Democratic State Representative candidate of the 36th District, talks with Democratic Committee candidate Lisa Orlando before voting outside of the voting location at the Grace Episcopal Church in Mount Washington on May 20, 2014.
- Longtime state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Carrick, gained territory in redistricting that takes effect in the Nov. 4 election.
Longtime state Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Carrick, gained territory in redistricting that takes effect in the Nov. 4 election.
- Pennsylvania state Rep. Erin Molchany, D-Mt. Washington, lost a primary race to longtime Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Carrick. Her seat shifted across the state to accommodate growing population in Eastern Pennsylvania and her territory meshed with Readshaw's 36th District.
Pennsylvania state Rep. Erin Molchany, D-Mt. Washington, lost a primary race to longtime Rep. Harry Readshaw, D-Carrick. Her seat shifted across the state to accommodate growing population in Eastern Pennsylvania and her territory meshed with Readshaw's 36th District.
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review - Pennsylvania State Representative for the 36th District, Harry Readshaw celebrates with his wife, Carol Reashaw after Readshaw recieving a concession call from Erin Molchany, his rival for the 36th district at Michael’s Restaurant and Lounge in Baldwin, Tuesday.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Andrew Russell  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pennsylvania State Representative for the 36th District, Harry Readshaw  celebrates with his wife, Carol Reashaw after Readshaw recieving a concession call from Erin Molchany, his rival for the 36th district at Michael’s Restaurant and Lounge in Baldwin, Tuesday.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 9:42 p.m.
 

Rep. Harry Readshaw's two decades of experience triumphed on Tuesday over his opponent's high-profile endorsements in a battle for the redrawn 36th Legislative District that pitted two Democratic incumbents from Allegheny County.

Readshaw of Carrick won what was, at times, a rancorous primary contest against Rep. Erin Molchany of Mt. Washington.

“People have faith in me, and I'll continue to do what I do,” said Readshaw, 72.

He had about 60 percent of the vote, with 97 percent of precincts reporting, according to preliminary election returns. Molchany had 40 percent.

Readshaw had not faced a primary challenger since he took office in 1994. A round of census-based legislative redistricting established new boundaries for the 36th District overlapping with Molchany's seat, resulting in the incumbent face-off.

Molchany, 32, was first elected to her seat in 2012. Championing progressive causes such as pay equity and marriage equality, she won endorsements from Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and City Council President Bruce Kraus.

Molchany called Readshaw to concede about 9:15 p.m., then spoke to supporters at Redbeard's, a bar and restaurant in Mt. Washington.

“It was a hard-fought campaign, and she looks forward to working with him over the remainder of her term in Harrisburg,” said Molchany campaign spokesman Jacob Redfern.

Readshaw had a built-in edge among voters: Within the new boundaries, about 70 percent of the population was formerly part of Readshaw's constituency. The district covers southern portions of Pittsburgh, Mt. Oliver, Brentwood and most of Baldwin.

Readshaw, a funeral director, has a stake in his third-generation family business, Readshaw Funeral Home on Brownsville Road.

He said he would “wait and see” how relationships unfold with elected officials who endorsed his opponent.

“I'm open to healing wounds, making friendships, so we'll see,” he said. “The next move is theirs.”

Readshaw received support from labor unions representing Pittsburgh firefighters and the Allegheny County Labor Council, among other groups. Readshaw said he is a conservative-leaning Democrat who is against abortion.

Planned Parenthood Pennsylvania PAC had endorsed Molchany and released an attack ad against Readshaw.

Melissa Daniels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8511 or mdaniels@tribweb.com.

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