Shaffer knocks off incumbent Vulakovich in state Senate race
Ross Township Commissioner Jeremy Shaffer defeated incumbent state Sen. Randy Vulakovich of Shaler in Tuesday's primary to earn the Republican nomination to run for the 38th District seat in November, according to unofficial tallies.
Shaffer collected 58.54 percent of the votes compared with Vulakovich's 41.21 percent, according to Allegheny County unofficial election results.
“Our state government is broken and it's time to fix it,” Shaffer, 41, told the Tribune-Review. “I think that message resonates with Republicans, Democrats and independents.”
Shaffer, who said Vulakovich called to concede the race at 9:15 p.m. on election night, cast himself as more conservative than Vulakovich and criticized the incumbent for supporting a state revenue package over the summer that included a tax increase and natural gas severance tax. The proposed package passed the Senate but not the House.
Vulakovich, 67, is a retired Shaler police officer. He was elected to the state House in 2006 and to the state Senate in 2012 to fill the seat vacated by Jane Orie of McCandless, who resigned before being sentenced on corruption charges for using her state-paid staff for campaign work and knowingly introducing forged documents at an earlier trial.
Shaffer has a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and was president and co-founder of a software company specializing in bridge and transportation infrastructure. He is in his second four-year term as a Ross commissioner.
Shaffer will face Democrat Lindsey Williams in the November general election.
Williams, a communications specialist from West View, collected 57.68 percent of the votes cast in Tuesday's primary to defeat Stephanie Walsh of Highland Park, who garnered 41.62 percent of the vote.
Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review assistant news editor. Staff writer Tony LaRussa contributed to this report.