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Beaver County Dems make pick in Senate race

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By David M. Brown
Friday, Aug. 15, 2008

Beaver County Democrats on Thursday night endorsed county Commissioner Joe Spanik as their choice as nominee in the 47th Senatorial District race to replace retiring Sen. Gerald LaValle, D-Rochester.

The party must fill the slot that opened when state Rep. Sean Ramaley, D-Economy, dropped out of the race earlier this month. Ramaley and 11 others face criminal charges related to the legislative corruption scandal involving bonuses.

The 47th district includes most of Beaver County, part of Lawrence County and a slice of Allegheny County.

On Wednesday, Lawrence County Democrats unanimously picked Jason Petrella of Monaca to be the nominee. Ramaley defeated Petrella in the April primary, 53 to 47 percent.

Democratic officials in Allegheny County are scheduled to vote on a potential nominee Monday.

Beaver County Democratic Chairman Michael Sisk said the Democratic State Committee will make the final decision since Beaver and Lawrence selected different candidates.

Spanik, of Center, also was a candidate in the Democratic primary but withdrew after Ramaley got the party endorsement.

Other Democrats in contention for the nomination included Bob Grotevant of Brighton Township, a regional director for the state Treasury Department who was an aide to the late Gov. Bob Casey Sr.; Anthony Razzano, a certified public accountant from Union Township; and Stevan Drobac Jr., a retired Center police officer. Economy Mayor David Poling had sought the nomination but withdrew earlier this week.

The Democratic nominee will face Republican Elder Vogel Jr., a New Sewickley Township supervisor, in the Nov. 4 election. Jay Paisley, a former Democrat, planned to run for the Senate post as an independent, but Paisley fell short of the number of petition signatures required to get on the ballot as an independent.

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