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Politics

Vulakovich wins Senate seat

Tony LaRussa
| Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012, 12:26 a.m.
This 2012 file photo shows state Sen. Randy Vulakovich.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
This 2012 file photo shows state Sen. Randy Vulakovich.
Democrat Sharon Brown, who is running in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Joan Orie casts her vote Tuesday morning August 7, 2012 at the McCandless Municipal Building.
James Knox  |  Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Democrat Sharon Brown, who is running in the special election to fill the seat vacated by Joan Orie casts her vote Tuesday morning August 7, 2012 at the McCandless Municipal Building. James Knox | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Republican state Rep. Randy Vulakovich of Shaler soundly defeated his Democratic opponent in a special election on Tuesday to fill the remaining two years of Jane Orie's term in the state Senate.

With 100 percent of the precincts counted, Vulakovich received 71 percent of the vote, compared with 28 percent for Sharon Brown, 59, of McCandless. A total of 17,046 votes were cast, 13 percent of registered voters.

Write-in candidates received 1 percent of the vote. Absentee ballots were not included in the vote totals.

Vulakovich's victory will keep the 40th District seat in the hands of Republicans, who have held it since 1991 and have the edge in registration.

Of the registered voters in the 40th Senate District, 46 percent are Republicans and 42 percent are Democrats, with the remaining 12 percent of voters belonging to other political parties.

Vulakovich, 62, said his initial goal will be to get the district “back to normal” after the disarray that resulted with Orie's conviction on corruption charges.

“I'm really looking forward to getting started so we can put the 40th District back together again,” Vulakovich said. “It was like a bad dream, but I've got staff lined up to get to work so that we can hopefully wake up one day soon and things will be back to normal.”

Brown, a health care consultant, could not be reached for comment.

The district covers Bradford Woods, Etna, Franklin Park, Hampton, Marshall, McCandless, Pine, Richland, Ross, Shaler, West Deer and West View in Allegheny County; and Adams, Buffalo, Callery, Connoquenessing, Clinton, Cranberry, Evans City, Forward, Harmony, Jackson, Mars, Middlesex, Penn, Seven Fields, Valencia and Zelienople in Butler County.

A former police officer, Vulakovich has said he will resign the 30th House seat that he has held since 2007.

He won his party's endorsement on June 16 to run for Orie's unexpired term by beating early favorite Melissa Hart, a former congresswoman.

Orie, 50, of McCandless resigned her Senate seat on May 28, before being sentenced on corruption charges.

She was sentenced in July to 2 12 to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $180,500 in restitution and damages for using her state-paid staff for campaign work and knowingly introducing forged documents at an earlier trial.

Tony LaRussa is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7987 or tlarussa@tribweb.com.

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