Incumbent Paul Zavarella of Plum gets Democratic Party nod for November ballot |
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Michael DiVittorio

Incumbent Paul D. Zavarella of Plum received the Allegheny County Democratic Committee’s nod to be on the November ballot for the District 8 county council seat.

About 102 out of the district’s near 150 Democratic Party committee members voted in a special election Saturday.

Committee Chairwoman Eileen Kelly said Zavarella earned the majority with 48 votes.

Challengers Bhavini Patel and Ryan O’Donnell received 31 and 23 votes, respectively.

“Everything went smoothly,” Kelly said. “… They were all great candidates, they all worked hard. It was up to the committee. Sometimes the incumbent does have the edge because he gets to show what he can do. The committee watches that.”

The meeting was necessary for one of the reasons Zavarella is on county council now — the passing of longtime politician and college administrator Charles Martoni.

Martoni, a Swissvale Democrat, who served nearly 20 years as an Allegheny County councilman representing Pittsburgh’s eastern suburbs and parts of the Mon Valley.

He last won reelection in 2017. He was 82.

Zavarella was appointed by Allegheny County Council to fill the vacancy in June.

The primary election was May 21. Zavarella will have to win in November if he wants to keep his seat beyond the end of the year.

Zavarella is a lifelong Plum resident. He is an attorney who practices criminal defense law and municipal law as well as wills and estates with Bruce Dice & Associates.

District 8 spans 17 municipalities, including Plum, Monroeville, Wilkinsburg, and much of the Mon Valley, from Rankin and East McKeesport to Trafford and Pitcairn.

It’s unclear of Zavarella will have a Republican challenger.

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