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Incumbents just keep on rolling in Western Pennsylvania

| Tuesday, May 20, 2014, 11:54 p.m.
John Hugya, 79, of Somerset County is a Democratic primary candidate in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district.
John Hugya, 79, of Somerset County is a Democratic primary candidate in Pennsylvania’s 12th congressional district.
Erin McClelland of Harrison is a Democratic contender in the 12th Congressional District.
Erin McClelland of Harrison is a Democratic contender in the 12th Congressional District.
Republican U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus of Sewickley is running for re-election to his 12th Congressional District seat.
Republican U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus of Sewickley is running for re-election to his 12th Congressional District seat.
Congressman Mike Doyle speaks to members of the Allegheny Valley Chamber of Commerce during a meet-and-greet breakfast meeting held at the Clarion Hotel in New Kensington on Friday, August 16, 2013.
Erica Dietz | Valley News Dispatch
Congressman Mike Doyle speaks to members of the Allegheny Valley Chamber of Commerce during a meet-and-greet breakfast meeting held at the Clarion Hotel in New Kensington on Friday, August 16, 2013.
The Rev. Janis C. Brooks
Submitted
The Rev. Janis C. Brooks

Many people say they distrust Congress but it's hard to oust an incumbent, said Steven Pederson, a political science professor at Penn State University's Harrisburg campus.

“You can't beat something with nothing,” he said as Western Pennsylvania House members prevailed or faced no challengers in primary races. “If you have people who are scared because of the advantages of incumbency, there's not going to be a challenge.”

Rep. Mike Doyle of Forest Hills defeated fellow Democrat Janis C. Brooks of North Versailles in the 14th District by 84 percent to 16 percent, with 57 percent of precincts reporting.

Two other incumbents picked up challengers from the primary.

Erin McClelland, a health care worker from Harrison, was winning the Democrats' nomination for the 12th Congressional District, 72 percent to 28 percent. She defeated John Hugya, a former chief of staff to the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha, who lives in Somerset County.

McClelland said she will focus on health care, veterans and the economy in the general election campaign.

“We have come a long way since we started on this road but our work is not done yet,” she said in a statement upon declaring victory. “... We get to keep on fighting to fix Washington, to make our government work for us, and to make sure the people of Western Pennsylvania have their voices heard.”

McClelland will face Republican Rep. Keith Rothfus of Sewickley in the November election. Rothfus, a lawyer who won his first term two years ago, ran unopposed.

The 12th District stretches across six counties.

In the 3rd District, Democrat Dan LaVallee of Cranberry ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. He will face Republican Rep. Mike Kelly of Butler, who did not have an opponent. The district covers seven counties.

Rep. Tim Murphy, a seven-term Republican from Upper St. Clair, ran unopposed for the 18th District seat that represents portions of Allegheny, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties. No Democrats filed to run against him in the fall.

Brooks ran against Doyle for the second time, having lost to him in 2012. She ran on a platform of change. There were no Republican candidates. The 14th district includes parts of Pittsburgh, several northeastern Allegheny County communities, and Arnold and New Kensington in Westmoreland County.

Members of Congress receive $174,000 a year and serve two-year terms.

Andrew Conte is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7835 or andrewconte@tribweb.com.

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