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League Of Women Voters Schedules Debates In Raft Of Legislative Races

Congressional portraits
Keith Rothfus and Conor Lamb will face each other in a televised Oct. 16 League of Women Voters debate on WTAE-TV.

How much election-year drama is Allegheny County seeing? Enough that the League of Women Voters could practically put on its own miniseries this month.

The League’s Greater Pittsburgh chapter is holding a total of seven debates in Allegheny County within the next month, and some of them combine races in overlapping and adjoining districts. Most of the debates will take place in the suburbs, where Democrats have fielded candidates even in traditionally Republican areas.

The top of the fight card is the televised Oct. 16 debate between Conor Lamb and Keith Rothfus. The event, which features the only race in the country to pit two incumbent Congressional candidates against each other, will be broadcast on WTAE-TV and is expected to be simulcast on WESA-FM. It will air at 7 p.m.

Other debate times and locations are:

Tues, Oct. 9

Bethel Park Community Center, 5151 Park Ave, Bethel Park, PA 15102.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for a pair of debates in the 39th and 40th state House districts, which range across the South Hills. Republican Michael Puskaric faces Democrat Robert Rhoderick in the bid to replace outgoing state Rep. Rick Saccone in the 39th. In the 40th, Democrat Sharon Guidi faces Republican Natalie Mihalek Stuck to replace retiring House member John Maher.

Thursday, Oct. 11

O'Hara Elementary Auditorium, 115 Cabin Lane, Pittsburgh, PA 15238.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for another pair of state House debates. In the House District 30 seat being vacated by Hal English, Republican Lori Mizgorski is challenging Democrat Betsy Monroe. Meanwhile, House District 33 Democratic incumbent Frank Dermody will face Republican challenger Joshua Nulph.

Tuesday, Oct. 16

Conor Lamb, the Democrat representing Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District, faces 12th District Representative Keith Rothfus in the newly drawn 17th Congressional District for this WTAE-TV debate, which starts at 7 p.m. with WTAE reporter Mike Clark serving as a moderator.

Tuesday, Oct. 23

Robert Morris University, 6001 University Blvd, Moon PA 15108 (room to be determined).

Republican Valerie Gaydos and Democrat Michele Knoll face off in the 44th state House District, where longtime state Rep. Mark Mustio is retiring.

Wednesday, Oct. 24

CCAC Boyce Campus, Performance Lecture Hall Auditorium, South Wing Room S440, 595 Beatty Rd, Monroeville, PA 15146.

Democrat Brandon Markosek, the son of retiring longtime state House member Joseph Markosek, will face Republican Stepehen Schlauch to debate their vision for the 25th state House district.  Doors open at 6 p.m.

Monday, Oct. 29

Taylor-Allderdice High School Auditorium, 2409 Shady Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217.

Doors open at 6 p.m. for this debate between Dan Frankel, the Democratic incumbent in the 23rd state House District, and Green Party candidate Jay Ting Walker.

Thursday, Nov. 1

CCAC North Campus, Atrium Stage, 8701 Perry Highway, Pittsburgh, PA 15237.

The last League of Women Voters debate of the season is another double-header, with Republican Jeremy Shaffer squaring off against Democrat Lindsey Williams in the 38th state Senate District race. The debate will also feature Democrat Emily Skopov and Republican Mike Turzai, the Speaker of the state House, in the 28th state House District. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Nearly three decades after leaving home for college, Chris Potter now lives four miles from the house he grew up in -- a testament either to the charm of the South Hills or to a simple lack of ambition. In the intervening years, Potter held a variety of jobs, including asbestos abatement engineer and ice-cream truck driver. He has also worked for a number of local media outlets, only some of which then went out of business. After serving as the editor of Pittsburgh City Paper for a decade, he covered politics and government at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He has won some awards during the course of his quarter-century journalistic career, but then even a blind squirrel sometimes digs up an acorn.