Who will succeed Smith in House?

Published by Laura Olson on .

In this morning's Post-Gazette, politics guru Jim O'Toole reminded readers that state Rep. Matt Smith's departure for the greener pastures of the state Senate means a special election is in order.

No date has yet been set (with lawmakers on vacation until January, there's less urgency than other periods throughout the year), but speculation already is swirling over who the candidates may be, O'Toole reports:

Dan Miller, another former Mt. Lebanon commissioner, appears to be the early favorite for the Democratic nomination to the seat, although there would be time for other candidates to emerge before a special election sometime next year.

In an interview Friday, the lawyer acknowledged that he plans to run for the post.

The early field is less clear on the Republican side. The seat, while it has a Democratic registration advantage, could be vulnerable to a GOP takeover in a low-turnout special election. A possible deterrent to potential GOP candidates, however, is that the district is slated to become more solidly Democratic in the subsequent election, in 2014, when a redrawn legislative map goes into effect.

... Republican names that have drawn speculation include Nate Nevala, a district staff member for Rep. Tim Murphy of Upper St. Clair, and Mr. Raja, who previously lost a bid for county executive. Both were cited in a list of potential candidates in the Harrisburg website, PoliticsPa. Neither could immediately be reached for comment.

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